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Raising the flag on Merchant Navy Day

A special flag will be flown from the top of the Council House in Malvern to raise awareness of the UK's ongoing dependence on the Merchant Navy.

On 3 September Malvern Hills District Council will be taking part in a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy's official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.

Cllr Barbara Williams, chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, will be raising the flag to say ‘thank you seafarers', and will be reading out a message from the charity's president, HRH The Earl of Wessex.

Cllr Williams said: "It is such an honour to be a part of this important flag raising ceremony, as a mark of respect and honour for the brave men and women who made sacrifices during both World Wars.

"We also rely heavily on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of our imports, including half the food we eat. This day is a great opportunity to show our support and appreciation for Navy seafarers everywhere, and all the outstanding work they continue to do."

More than 400 local authorities throughout the UK have been invited by Seafarers UK and the Merchant Navy Association to participate in ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day'.

Merchant Navy Day has been commemorated since 2000 on 3 September, the anniversary of the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel lost during World War 2.

Seafarers UK is a leading grant-making charity that helps people in the maritime community, by providing vital funding to support seafarers in need and their families. Donations to the charity's Merchant Navy Fund can be made at www.merchantnavyfund.org