THE Hungerford-based Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation is opening up its historic archives – a key part of the UK’s national maritime heritage.
The children’s charity is making them accessible with the help of a £2,500 gift from The Patron’s Fund.
The initiative will improve access to the Foundation’s historic collection of archives and artefacts comprising 190 volumes and 11 boxes – including manuscripts, books, papers and even navigational instruments – dating back to the first trustees’ minutes in 1827.
The national charity moved its offices to Charnham Lane around 12 months ago.
Its chief executive officer, Cdr Charles Heron-Watson, lives in Ramsbury.
He said: “The Foundation is a relatively small charity with a niche beneficiary class and we are delighted and honoured to be able to say not only that the Queen is our patron, but also that the Duke of Edinburgh is our president.
“The Foundation has a strategic aim of achieving 250 beneficiaries, which represents a threefold increase from our current number.
“This donation from The Patron’s Fund for which we are really grateful will help towards the costs of publicising the Foundation’s activities including digitising our archives, which form part of the UK’s national maritime heritage.”
The Patron’s Fund was set up to acknowledge the work of the charitable organisations of which the Queen acts as a patron.
Started in 1827 as the Merchants’ Seamen’s Orphans Asylum, the Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation is a British national children’s educational charity that offers support to the disadvantaged children, in full-time education or training, of current and former Merchant Navy seafarers, and of professional seagoing fishermen and RNLI crew members.
Abiding by the mantra ‘Education is the Foundation’, the Foundation has helped thousands of ‘Foundationers’ achieve their educational and career-led goals.
It offers support including contributions towards school fees, living expenses while in fulltime education, educational books, visits or equipment, school uniform costs and more.