04 Dec 2023
by James Crabbe

Guild of Benevolence seeks new Trustees

As the Guild of Benevolence Board of Trustees seeks nominations for new Trustees, Professor James Crabbe CMarSci FIMarEST, Chair of the Board, gives an insight into its history and work.  


A Brief History 

The Guild originated from the Fund set up in 1912 by the Institute in co-operation with the Daily Chronicle to help families of the engineer officers of the RMS TITANIC that sank on 15 April 1912, after striking an iceberg in mid-Atlantic. All 35 men from Chief Engineer to the Engineer's Clerk, together with the ship's designer and two engineers from Harland & Wolff lost their lives.  

The 'TITANIC' Engineering Staff Memorial Benevolent Fund, administered by The Institute of Marine Engineers, was expanded in 1934 in response to bereavements and hardships resulting from the 1914-18 conflict and became The Institute of Marine Engineers Guild of Benevolence.  

In 1989 The Marine Engineers Benevolent Fund (MEBF) was incorporated into the Guild. This was once a separate charity founded by the merger of three smaller charities, namely The Marine Engineers Association Benevolent Fund, the King George's Fund (War Fund) and the Inverclyde Bequest Fund. MEBF funds were exhausted in 2005. As a result, the regular and one-off grants previously payable from the MEBF were transferred to the Guild during that year. 

Since then, the role of the Guild has further developed to assist more generally in the relief of hardship for marine engineers and their dependents and in 2001 adopted its present name to coincide with that of the Institute.  


What does the Guild do?  

We provide assistance to persons who qualify under the rules. This includes making regular grants to supplement a very low income, helping with shortfalls in reasonable nursing home fees, making single lump sum grants to assist with the purchase of expensive items for a recipient’s wellbeing, helping with the costs of such things as essential home repairs, respite care, funerals, and with debt relief.  


Who do we help?  

We help:   

  • Past and present members of the IMarEST or of The Guild of Benevolence.  

  • Marine engineers, scientists or technologists who possess, or have possessed, Certificates of Competency or Certificates of Service issued by the relevant governmental department or agency, or equivalent qualifications.  

  • Past and present employees of the IMarEST or of the Guild.  

  • Wives, husbands, widows, widowers, dependent children or other dependent relatives of any person qualifying under any of the above categories.  

As a Committee, we have sole discretion to decide who are proper subjects for relief whether or not they are covered by the descriptions above. 

Most of the people helped by the Guild live in the United Kingdom. However, as we are an international organisation, an increasing number of Institute members resident overseas or their dependents have benefited from the Guild's help.  

We are member of the Charities Committee of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and frequently marine engineers and their dependents who are in need of help are referred to the Guild from other maritime charities associated with the MNWB.  

Potential beneficiaries are also referred to the Guild by the Royal British Legion; The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – Forces Help (SSAFA Forces Help); The Officers' Association; various Royal Naval Benevolent Funds; Occupational Benevolent Funds and local social services departments. Recommendations are also received from IMarEST members. 


Where does the money come from? 

We receive donations from individual members and from branches of the Institute, in addition to donations made by companies. A regular income is also derived from the Guild's investment portfolio. Occasionally, we are the beneficiary of a legacy in remembrance of a loved-one. 

Past and present members, and 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 discretion of the Board, can become a Member of the Guild. Being a member involves giving an ongoing donation either in the form of an annual subscription (currently £25) or a lifetime membership (currently, a one-off payment of £300). 


Being a Trustee 

The affairs of the Guild are overseen by the Board of Trustees who serve for a period of three years and can then seek re-election for a further three years, subject to Guild Rules.  

We are now seeking new Trustees to join us in this important work. To stand as a Trustee you need to be a Member of the Guild. If you’re interested and would like to nominate yourself, please request a form by emailing [email protected] or calling 020 7382 2644.

Closing date for nominations is Wednesday 31 January 2024.  

Read more about the Guild of Benevolence