Alex from Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) led the service ably assisted by the choir from Stanford-le-Hope Methodist who opened the service and sang several times during the service.

The service was held in the 24 hour room with a packed room, standing room only for those that came when it started, over 80 people from a variety of churches and organisations. There were representatives from Finland, Philippines, Germany. Poland, Indonesia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. As well as a Harbour Master and the Chief Inspector of Port police, the Churches represented included St Mary’s Little Thurrock, St Mary’s Maldon, Grays Methodist, and West Thurrock Chapel plus others.

During the services Alex had everyone sing a verse of “|While shepherds watched their flocks by night” to the tune of “Ilkley moor bar tat”

Passages from the bible were read by Chief Inspector of the port police, Father John from St Mary’s in Maldon, Father Jeba Apostleship of the sea, and John a Chaplin. Barry, from the mission to seafarers, read a poem. Mark, one of the Chaplin’s, spoke about the effect the presence of a baby has on people. Wojciech , another Chaplin, lead in prayer. Brenda. Local Methodist circuit minister brought this section to end. The choir sang again and the finial carol was sung.

QVSR took over the running the centre just over 3 years ago and have seen it grow and thrive. One of the highlights of this year has been the opening of the outdoor sport centre. The team of staff and Chaplin’s gave out over 2500 Christmas parcels and the contents has been supplied by the community and business.  Each parcel had been wrapped by friends of the Seaman’s centre.  For many seamen this will be the only Christmas gift they receive.