SeafarersTilbury Freeport is Thurrock’s very own dockland. And in the docks, the Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre is a harbour of refuge, a rock of peace and rest, for merchant seamen from across the globe.

Managed by Lynn Watts, the centre offers a number of amenities to seafarers, including an area for relaxation, a bar, TV, snooker, table tennis, and a chapel. Most vital are telephones and computers so seafarers can communicate with loved ones back at home – some are away from their families for 9 months of the year.

Almost entirely men, crews come from the Far East, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The Chaplains who are based at the centre get frequent opportunities to visit ships, talk to and pray with crewmembers, and get involved with the ‘churches on the oceans’ being part of onboard services.

There are three Chaplains working out of the centre. They are: Fr Pat Foley (Apostleship of the Sea), Rev Ray Rudgett (Mission to Seafarers), and Paul Cave (British & International Sailors’ Society).

When you consider that Thurrock’s motto is “From the Thames to the Peoples of the World”, the missionary work that goes on in the docks carries both an historical legacy and a prophetic impetus.


The Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre is now preparing for this year’s distribution of Christmas parcels and aim to make up and distribute 2000 parcels to seafarers during December.

What’s needed to make up each parcel? Simply the following things:
• Toiletries – soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste etc.
• Reading material – Readers Digest and paperback books, new or in good condition
• Warm winter clothing – hats, socks, scarves and gloves (thermal, Thinsulate, woollen or knitted)
• Any suitable small items

Lynn Watts says, “If you are able to help us we would be most grateful. These parcels mean so much to seafarers absent from home and loved ones at this time of year.”

One ship’s captain told the Mission: “You do not know how much these gifts mean to us – it’s not the value, it’s knowing that somebody cares.”

“I appreciate your continuing support,” Lynn continues, “and on behalf of the staff and Chaplains would like to thank you in advance for your contributions, because without your generosity none of this would be possible.”

Please send or deliver and items to:
The Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre, Tenants Row, Tilbury Freeport, Essex RM18 7EH.
Tel: 01375 846151

Want to know more about the work of the Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre? Paul Cave is available to speak at your fellowship.

Another missionary working in the docks, Fred Merry, is also available.

Volunteers are always needed to help at the Centre, or drive the minibuses that ferry seafarers around the area. For more info, please call Lynn at the above number.