UK-wide charity the Merchant Navy Association opened its first ever Edinburgh branch at a special event in Edinburgh today (Friday 4 November 2022). The event took place at the headquarters of the Northern Lighthouse Board with Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge.
The Merchant Navy Association (MNA) launched in 1989 and established a unique opportunity for seafarers to get together to form a countrywide consensus on a range of issues and ideas. As a maritime charity, it represents all seafarers in the UK and has the additional benefit of MNA branches in local communities.
Speaking at the event, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh said:
“As an island nation both in history and now, we continue to depend on seafarers to defend our shores, to trade with other countries and to import essential goods. So, recording our gratitude to the men and women who lost their lives or were injured when at sea and to their loved ones is the very least we can do, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“My thanks to every one of you who have worked for the establishment of a local branch of the Merchant Navy Association. The Edinburgh branch will enable like-minded Merchant Navy personnel and their families a common gathering place with many opportunities to receive support and to recall fondly their days at sea. I am absolutely delighted to be with you today and wish you the very best for the future.”
Ned Kelly, Founder and Chair of the Edinburgh Branch and former Chief Caterer with the Northern Lighthouse Board said:
“The Port of Leith and Edinburgh have a long-standing relationship with the Merchant Navy. Leith was Scotland’s premier port for more than 300 years and served as Edinburgh’s trading port for more than 700 years.
“Having an Edinburgh branch of the MNA where the seafaring community can meet, share stories and get support is long overdue and I am delighted it’s finally happened”.
Ned Kelly was instrumental in setting up the Edinburgh Branch with co-founder, Allan Dickson. Ned worked at sea for 48 years and was Chief Caterer with the Northern Lighthouse Board for 20 years. He has worked tirelessly to encourage apprenticeships within the Merchant Navy and is part of the Merchant Navy Training Board’s Trailblazer Group, developing a new sea going apprenticeship. In 2017, he was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for his ground-breaking work in introducing the apprenticeship schemes.