Sailor’s friend up for award

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Port Hedland Seafarers chaplain Garry South
Camera IconPort Hedland Seafarers chaplain Garry South Credit: Picture: Alexander Scott

A Port Hedland chaplain has been nominated for an international award in recognition of his tireless commitment to helping seafarers arriving at the port.

Port Hedland Seafarers chaplain Garry South has been short-listed for the Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year award at the International Seafarers Welfare Awards in London.

Mr South began working with seafarers eight years ago when the senior chaplain asked for help to run the centre.

Mr South said when he arrived at the centre there were only three other staff, but the number had grown to 20 people.

While honoured to be nominated, he said his focus was on his role as chaplain.

“We pick the sailors up and bring them to shore, exchange their money and take them to the supermarkets,” he said.

Mr South said one of the most rewarding aspects of his job was passing out gifts to sailors on Christmas Day from his helicopter.

“By the time we get to two or three ships we then have the rest on the radio asking us if we are visiting them, and it just brightens their day,” he said.

Mr South also gives care packages out to cadets on the ships.

“The cadets are on 12-month contracts and only receive 20 per cent of their wage as an allowance, the rest goes to their families,” he said.

“When I can I give them a care package with some toiletries, a New Testament, and a $10 phone card so they can call their families.”

Mr South said many seafarers added him on Facebook and sent him pictures of their children.

“One that stood out was a seafarer who told me he had a young child, so I gave him a children’s Bible, and then months later he sent me a video of his child reading the Bible,” he said.

The awards will be presented on September 11

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