Maritime charity volunteer honoured after 60 years of service

A volunteer on the Isle of Wight has been honoured by maritime charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, following his retirement after 60 years of service.

Mr Philip Woodford has acted as the Charity’s ‘Honorary Agent’ on the Isle of Wight since 1960 and his main preoccupation has been the upkeep of the charity’s two large red WW2 collecting mines on both Sandown and Shanklin esplanades, which due to their location are prone to the ravages of the weather and require regular maintenance to keep them in good repair.

Across the decades both mines have together collected significant funds from Island residents and visitors alike, which have greatly helped the charity in its work supporting fishermen, mariners and their dependants facing financial hardship and distress.

For many years Philip also acted as a volunteer coastguard and has been an active member of Bembridge and Gurnard sailing clubs. The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s flag has often been seen flying from a flagpole in Philip’s garden above Sandown Pier.

Now 88-years young, on the occasion of his retirement, the charity’s Council of Trustees has awarded Mr Woodford the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s Stoakes Award in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Capt. Justin Osmond RN, said: “We are only able to provide the necessary support and help those in need thanks to the outstanding commitment and service of our network of Honorary Agents, who operate all over the UK.

“Philip’s commitment to the Society and the maritime community on the Isle of Wight has been remarkable and has helped us make a genuine difference to the lives of many seafarers and their families during his 60 years of service, so he is a most deserving recipient of our Stoakes Award. We wish him a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”

Founded in 1839 after the tragic loss of a fleet of fishing boats out of Clovelly, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society provides financial support to individuals in need who have worked or are still working at sea in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, as well as their dependants. Last year the Society distributed more than £1.4m in grants in over 2,000 cases of need and received more than 500 new applications for assistance.

Further information about the Society and its work can be found at