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All local councils throughout the UK are being invited to support a campaign to raise public awareness of ‘island nation’ Britain’s dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

The charity Seafarers UK is asking councils to fly the Red Ensign – the British Merchant Navy’s flag – on Merchant Navy Day, 3 September. Suggested venues include flagpoles in public places, on civic buildings, museums, libraries, schools and churches.

There are no restrictions on when or where the Red Ensign can be flown ashore in the UK. Merchant Navy Day has been observed in the UK since 2000. The campaign to ‘Fly the Red Ensign’ was started last year to remind UK citizens – none of whom live more than 70 miles from the sea – that they depend on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95% of imports.

Councils are being encouraged to organise flag-hoisting ceremonies on 3 September, or the preceding Friday. A guide to taking part – including a message of support from HRH The Earl of Wessex – is available to download at www.merchantnavyday.uk

That website also includes a ‘Roll of Honour’, to which all participating councils will be added when they register online, or by emailing event details to mnfund@seafarers-uk.org

Seafarers UK is a charity that helps people in the maritime community by providing vital funding to support seafarers in need and their families. The charity has a dedicated Merchant Navy Fund to attract donations specifically to support British Merchant Navy men and women and their families – see www.merchantnavyfund.org

For further information about the ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day, 3 September’ campaign please email mnfund@seafarers-uk.org or phone Carole Hunt on 020 7932 5986.

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