RFA Argus ship before leaving Falmouth

Christmas message to RFA Argus

Eight Wire has been working this week on a special print job as part of a morale-boosting scheme to send Christmas wishes to Falmouth mariners stationed off the coast of Sierra Leone this Christmas.

Thousands waved off the medical ship as she left her home port of Falmouth in October to play her part in the fight against the international Ebola crisis which has already killed around 5,000 people in west Africa and affected people in the US and Spain.

Led by A&P Falmouth, Eight Wire was pleased to lend a hand in sponsoring part of the scheme which includes a set of banners and a video currently in preparation that will send Christmas wishes to the members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary who will be on the ship for Christmas.

This week, RFA Argus was chosen to switch on Falmouth’s Christmas lights via video link from 4,000 miles away. The effort has been commended by Commodore Rob Dorey, of the RFA Argus, who said: “I am delighted with the plans for the video and would like to thank everybody for giving up so much of their time. The support from the local area, including Sarah Newton MP is fantastic.”

MP for Falmouth and Truro Sarah Newton said: “I am absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had so far and would like to praise the commitment of A&P Falmouth, Falmouth University and Eight Wire.

“We have been contacted by some of the families of those on board RFA Argus and would encourage as many people as possible to send in videos and photos. We will endeavour to include as many as possible in the final video message and have set up a separate file for all friends and family of those on board to send their personal greetings.”

Peter Child, Managing Director of A&P Falmouth, said: “We had no doubt the people of Falmouth would take this project to heart – it is already taking off in true Cornish style. We’ve had many expressions of support and interest from the local community, as well as the first videos landing on our desks. It’s a really inspiring project to be involved in.

“Our message is simple – keep the videos and photos coming in! We’ve done A&P’s this week and every one will mean a lot to those on board who are away from home this Christmas and act as a reminder that they are in our thoughts.”

“As its home port, Falmouth has long-standing relations with the RFA Argus and we hope the whole town will get behind us and help send a little bit of home to the ship this festive season.”

The team behind the video, which will be released on YouTube the week before Christmas, is asking for local organisations, schools and businesses to get involved by recording their own brief messages or taking photos to be included in the video. Ideas include musical tributes, fancy dress or holding up homemade signs and cards. Mrs Newton will be recording her own video tribute and A&P Falmouth is planning a suitably jolly missive.

A book of Christmas messages has been opened by Falmouth Town Council, and held in the library, for anyone who would like to send a greeting.

Videos and photos should be uploaded to http://argus.falmouth.ac.uk Falmouth University, in partnership with Script 2 Screen Media, has volunteered to produce the video. The deadline for submissions is Monday, December 8. Messages can also be left on the Facebook page, Happy Christmas RFA Argus, Love Falmouth, which is up and running.

The A&P Group has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships, including the Argus, at home and abroad until at least 2018. The Cluster Support Programme, introduced in 2008, brings together grouped contracts of vessels, hence Clusters, for longer terms with benefits of improved maintenance of platforms, increased availability and value for money.

The Cluster Support Team is based in Falmouth and consists of UK MoD and A&P personnel along with serving ship staff (in shore posts). Working together A&P Cluster Director, Gerald Pitts and MoD Cluster Team Leader, Kevin Murray, ensure all aspects of engineering support are managed and delivered, maintaining capability and availability of each platform around the globe 24 hours a day.