Guild of Benevolence

The Guild of Benevolence supports those in need within the marine community and their dependants globally.

What is the Guild of Benevolence? 

The Guild of Benevolence is a charity supporting those in need within the marine community and their dependents worldwide. We provide assistance that is uniquely tailored to each hardship case that is brought in front of our committee, including: 

  • Making regular grants to supplement a very low income

  • Helping with shortfalls in reasonable nursing home fees 

  • Making single lump sum grants to assist in the purchase of costly items that are essential for the recipient’s wellbeing 

  • Assisting with the cost of essential home repairs, costs of respite care and debt relief

  • Assisting with essential and reasonable funeral expenses in excess of any state contribution 

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The Guild of Benevolence relies on the kindness of people like you.

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RMS Titanic and the creation of the Guild

The Guild originated from the Titanic Engineering Staff Memorial Benevolent Fund set up in 1912 by the Institute together with the Daily Chronicle newspaper to help the bereaved families of the engineers of the RMS Titanic, which sank on 15 April 1912. 

Tragically, all 35 engineers on board lost their lives - from the Chief Engineer to the Engineer’s Clerk, as well as the ship’s designer and two engineers from Harland & Wolff. These heroic crewmembers stayed at their posts until the end, maintaining electrical power which kept lights on throughout the ship and provided power to the radio office, enabling them to transmit distress signals until the ship sank beneath the waves.

In 1934, the Fund was expanded in response to World War I and became The Institute of Marine Engineers Guild of Benevolence. Since then, the role of the Guild has further developed to assist more generally in the relief of hardship for marine engineers, scientists and technologists and their dependants.


How is the Guild funded?

Individuals can become members of the Guild and pay a monthly or annual donation. Donations are also received from IMarEST members and branches throughout the world and from companies associated with the marine industry.

The Guild also sustains a regular income through a diversified investment portfolio and is occasionally the beneficiary of a legacy in remembrance of a loved one.

Users with a web account can donate with this button to add 25p from Gift Aid to their donation at no extra cost.

Guild Membership

Membership of the Guild commits you to an ongoing donation in the form of an annual subscription or a lifetime membership.

Annual fee – £25
Lifetime – £300 (one off payment)

Who is eligible to join the Guild?

Past and present members of the Institute, past and present employees of the Institute or of the Guild, individuals professionally engaged in the marine sector as engineers, scientists or technologists and any individuals not fulfilling the above criteria, at the sole discretion of the Board.

To join the Guild, please download the Membership Application Form and send it to the address as detailed.

Giving by legacy


This is a simple form of legacy giving a specified amount of money to a named individual or organisation and is easy to administer. However, it does have the drawback in that inflation will reduce the monetary value of such a legacy.


This involves leaving all or part of the net residue of an estate after all pecuniary legacy, debts, fees and other charges have been met. Therefore, there is no requirement to quantify the amount to be left or to take into account the effect of inflation.


This is suitable for those who would not otherwise wish to bequeath any of their estate to the Guild. It provides an alternative to an estate going to the Crown in the event that none of the named dependents or other beneficiaries survives the deceased. In this event the entire estate would be given over to the Guild as the ultimate beneficiary.


If a person is a beneficiary under a Will, all or part of the inheritance may be transferred to the Guild by means of a ‘Deed of Variation’.

Amounts transferred in this manner are free from inheritance tax, thus giving the Guild the opportunity of benefitting during that persons lifetime.

What next?

Decide which type of the above gifts you would like to leave for the Guild and consult with your chosen Solicitor. You must arrange for your Solicitor or friends or family to act as executors of your estate. 

Complete the Legacy Pledge Form and send it to the Guild. You can scan and email this to [email protected] or post it to:

The Honorary Secretary

Guild of Benevolence of the IMarEST

1 Birdcage Walk

London, SW1H 9JJ

United Kingdom

Applying for help

How do I apply for support?

We want to reach those who need our help as quickly as possible, while making it as straightforward as possible.

1. Complete a financial assistance form

This is to confirm either your details of sea service as a marine engineer or the person on whom eligibility will be based, or Membership of the IMarEST. Providing supporting evidence of sea service such as a Discharge Book, Certificate of Competency or Service will help speed up the consideration process, as less time will be spent verifying history.

To apply for assistance, complete our online form now. You can also download an application form from the Documents page.

If you already recieve assistance and need to complete an assessment for continued financial support, please complete this form.

2. Provide details of your financial situation

Income and expenditure, savings and any other information that can help the Guild Trustees to make a decision on your circumstances will be appreciated.

3. Expect to receive a home visit

This will be either from a Guild Trustee, a Nautilus caseworker, or a representative from SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, who will help you in completing the application form.

If we are unable to help, you will be informed quickly and, if possible, will be advised of other organisations that might be able to assist you.

All information provided is treated in the strictest confidence in accordance with GDPR, and will not be passed on to any other beneficiary organisations without your express permission.

Support for cadets

Apply for assistance while studying for the MCA Certificate of Competency Management Level III/2 Engineering.


Who qualifies for help?

  • Any individual professionally engaged, now or in the past, in the marine sector as an engineer, scientist or technologist at a level eligible for IMarEST membership as a Fellow, Member or Associate
  • Marine and electrical engineers, mercantile or naval, who possess or have possessed Certificates of Competency or Service issued by the relevant governmental administrations, or equivalent qualifications
  • Marine engineers who possess or have possessed STCW Convention equivalent Class 1 or Class 2 Certificates of Competency issued by an IMO-recognised national maritime authority or Certificate of Competency issuing agency
  • Past and present members or employees of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) or of the Guild of Benevolence
  • Wives, husbands, partners, widows, widowers, dependent children or other dependent relatives of any person qualifying under any of the above categories

The Committee has sole discretion to decide who is eligible for relief and whether or not they are covered by the above descriptions.


Donations make a huge difference to the lives of those in need within the marine community and their families.

An independent 82 year-old widower who served at sea as a Fourth Engineer, living on his own, had an accident while carrying out maintenance on his home. 

He was hospitalised for a short while where tests showed he was suffering memory loss, possibly dementia, with glaucoma also being diagnosed. Shortly after returning home his boiler broke down. Having a very low income, with no savings or debts and the immediate family being unable to assist, he could not afford a replacement.

The Guild Trustees agreed to cover the cost of the new boiler and it's installation. In addition, the Guild made enquiries with other charities and received a contribution from the Shipwrecked Mariners Society towards the cost.

I am absolutely indebted to the Guild for all their financial assistance provided over the past few years. Without it my life would have been unimaginable; receiving that extra grant every quarter took the pressure off paying the gas, electricity and water bills and without which I really cannot imagine how I would have managed. Huge thanks to yourselves, the Chairman and everyone who donates to make these grants possible!


An ex-seafarer and IMarEST member who served at sea for a number of years became unemployed.

Being concerned that funds to cover his mortgage, bills and food would soon run out, he approached the Guild for assistance.

The Trustees assisted with a payment of £1,000 as well as covering the cost of a seafarer’s medical certificate. The Guild also offered their advice with respect to other organisations that could be contacted for help including the Seafarers Advice and Information Line, SAIL.

The Guild has a Board of Trustees and the management of the affairs of the Guild are under the control of the Board.

The Trustees are elected by members of the Guild. The Trustees carry out the administrative work with the help of an administrator and services provided by the IMarEST. The rules of the Guild can be accessed here.

The Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2022 are now available to download.

Guild Officers

Chairman  Professor James Crabbe CMarSci FIMarEST

Honorary Treasurer  Neil Darby BA FCA

Honorary Secretary  Gwynne Lewis

John Blacklock CEng CMarEng FIMarEST

Alexander Campbell JP MNM MSc BA FCMI CMgr

Gary Hindmarch CEng CMarEng FIMarEST

Dr Sajid Hussain CEng CMarEng FIMarEST

Ronald Keuning CEng CMarEng FIMarEST

Martin Murphy MSc CEng CMarEng FIMarEST

William Paterson IEng IMarEng MIMarEST

Eur Ing Peter Simon Rickaby CEng CMarEng HonFIMarEST FCMI

Eur Ing Elisabeth Wilson CEng MIMarEST

Relief Sub-Committee

Chair Professor James Crabbe

Honorary Treasurer Neil Darby

John Blacklock

Gary Hindmarch

Dr Sajid Hussain

Eur Ing Peter Simon Rickaby


Finance Sub-Committee

Chair Neil Darby

Professor James Crabbe

Eur Ing Peter Simon Rickaby


Co-opted members

Osama Akabat

Alexander Campbell

Audit Sub-Committee

Chair Dr Sajid Hussain

Neil Darby

Gwynne Lewis (Margaret Marchetti in Gwynne Lewis’ absence)

Eur Ing Elisabeth Wilson

Karen Lendor


Fundraising and Communications Sub-Committee

Chair John Blacklock

Eur Ing Elisabeth Wilson

Ronald Keuning


North West England Branch representative

Anthony Muncer

Guild of Benevolence documents

View application forms, privacy notices and rules for the Guild of Benevolence.

Access documents

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