On Merchant Navy Day, 3 September, Test Valley Borough Council will fly the Red Ensign at venues across the borough to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy Seafarers.

Test Valley Borough Council is supporting 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.

Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Iris Andersen, will read a message from HRH The Earl of Wessex at the Time Ring on Andover High Street at 9.55am before the Merchant Navy Flags are raised at the Guildhall at 10am. The Deputy Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Karen Hamilton, will carry out the same ceremony outside the Former Magistrates’ Court, Romsey. Flags will also be flown at Council buildings Beech Hurst, Andover, and Crosfield Hall, Romsey.

The charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying: ‘On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.’

As an ‘island nation’ the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95% of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75% of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports, some of which are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on 3 September.

For more information, visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day <http://www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day>

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