Felixstowe: Port chaplain Ken Martin devastated after being made redundant

PORT chaplain Ken Martin is set to move away from the town he has served for nearly 22 years after being made redundant from his post.

Rev Martin, a chaplain for the Sailors’ Society at the Seafarers’ Centre at the Port of Felixstowe, was two years ago awarded the Merchant Navy Medal because of his significant contribution to merchant shipping.

As a port chaplain, he helped those who stop off at the port as they criss-cross the globe with physical, mental and financial stress, and loneliness from extended periods of separation from their families, and has offered invaluable support, friendship and practical help.

“The Sailors’ Society has suffered some financial difficulty and has made its full-time chaplains redundant,” said Mr Martin, who lives in Chelsworth Road, Felixstowe.

“We are really devastated.

“We are now waiting on the Lord to see where we will serve next. It is a huge wrench to leave.”

Mr Martin, who hails from Northern Ireland, said he had lived in the resort longer than anywhere and had intended to stay and retire in the town, where the family has many friends.

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His son James had been educated in the town, attending schools in Trimley and felixstowe before attended University Campus Suffolk.

Mr Martin worked not only for the Seafarers’ Centre, but also took part in many events across the resort, especially the annual Remembrance wreath-laying ceremony.

Mr Martin and his wife Doreen were on the scene in Zeebrugge shortly after news of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster began to emerge. In the days that followed he worked tirelessly to support and comfort those waiting for news of loved ones and those who had lost relatives and friends in the tragedy.

He has worked at such far flung ports as Kingston, Jamaica and Antwerp, Belgium.