Sidmouth woman receives BEM in New Year Honours

British Empire Medal recipient Jan Webber with seafarers

British Empire Medal recipient Jan Webber with seafarers - Credit: Janet Webber

A woman from Sidmouth has been recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Jan Webber, Director of Development at the Mission for Seafarers, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to women in the maritime sector.

Jan started at the Mission to Seafarers charity in 2017, and during the pandemic she has worked to ensure that foreign sailors stranded in the UK during the pandemic have had access to toiletries, food, and Wifi to call families back home.

Working in the voluntary sector since 1994, she has covered the functions of fundraising, marketing and communications at local, regional, national and international levels.

In her 27 years in the sector, she has worked with charities representing children and adults in health, social welfare and education. For 11 years she worked with the Sailors' Society where she was Director of Fundraising.

She also helped to create the Wellness at Sea programme. The programme was developed to address the issue of poor mental health and the associated risks that can arise as a result of a life at sea.

Reacting to the news of the BEM, Mrs Webber said: “I am amazed and deeply touched to have been considered worthy for such an honour.

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"The shipping industry is a friendly, welcoming, and tight-knit community, and I have been privileged to meet so many people from all over the world. I find great satisfaction in matching a company’s ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) needs with what the Mission is doing – from our port chaplaincies to our family networks and mental health resources. The partnerships we develop bring benefits to everyone, but especially to the seafarers who rely on our work.”

Congratulating Mrs Webber on the honour, the Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary-General of The Mission to Seafarers said: “Jan is a toweringly successful maritime sector fundraiser. She works tirelessly and with a deep commitment to the cause.

"At The Mission to Seafarers, she has been a game-changer, transforming our fundraising, building new relationships, and realising a wide range of new opportunities.

"She has also challenged us more widely and been integral to the strategic development process. We have been the latest beneficiary of her talents in a career in which she has been so transformative for many. Rarely has an award been better deserved. I am delighted for her.”