The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has appointed its first full-time chaplain.
Reverend Tom Ebbens began his career in Her Majesty's Coastguard as a volunteer and has since worked in both operations centres handling distress calls, and latterly on the coast as an officer overseeing volunteers.
He was given the full-time role of chaplain after a pilot project which allowed him to fulfil a multi-faith chaplaincy role while still in his full-time coastal role. As well as being the full-time chaplain, he is also a self-supporting curate with the Church of England in Cornwall.
He says he sees the role as one supporting those of 'all faiths and none', being a 'companion to those who serve on the frontline' who might need some extra support from time to time.
'People will often say things to a chaplain that they wouldn’t say to anyone else and that has got to be held somewhere, respected and acknowledged. Chaplaincy is a great thing to provide that service.'
Director of HM Coastguard Claire Hughes said: 'This is a landmark appointment in terms of our service. Tom is going to bring another level of care alongside the welfare-led support systems we already have in place such as Trauma Risk Management (TRiM).
'He's already proved that the care of chaplaincy can reach all people across all parts of the MCA as well as those serving in HM Coastguard. People know they can talk to him in confidence about their concerns and problems and that he will provide the support they need.'