Full-time Cornwall Chaplain Tom Ebbens on the Coastguard’s 200th anniversary

A commitment to caring for people on the frontline has led the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to appoint its first-ever full-time chaplain – and he’s from Cornwall.

The Reverend Tom Ebbens, from Constantine, began his career with Her Majesty’s Coastguard as a volunteer and has since worked in both operations centers handling distress calls and latterly on the coast as an officer supervising volunteers.

He says he sees the role of all faiths and none, a companion for those serving on the front lines who might need extra support from time to time.

Tom has now been given the role of full-time chaplain after a pilot project which allowed him to fulfill a multi-faith chaplain role while carrying out his full-time coastal role.

The announcement came as HM Coastguard marked its 200th anniversary.

As well as being a full-time chaplain, he is also a self-governing Church of England Vicar at Kerrier Deanery, with a particular focus on the Helston, Wendron and Constantine areas, having been one of six ordained deacon at Truro Cathedral last June.

MCA said her full-time role is a recognition of the value chaplaincy brings to the organization, which includes the work of frontline emergency services, adding that she is committed to the well- being and well-being of all who serve and work for her.

Reverend Tom Ebbens said: “I see much of this work as being a companion on whatever road someone is currently on, wherever it takes them. People have fears and concerns, worries and challenges and sometimes they need someone to walk with them through these dark times, to listen to them, to share the pain and support them through this difficult time.

“People often say things to a chaplain that they wouldn’t say to anyone else and that needs to be held somewhere, respected and recognized. Chaplaincy is a great thing for that to provide that service.

HM Coastguard Director Claire Hughes said: ‘This is a historic appointment in terms of service. Tom will bring another level of care alongside the wellness-focused support systems we already have in place, such as Trauma Risk Management.

“He has already proven that chaplaincy care can reach all people in all parts of the MCA as well as those serving in the HM Coastguard. People know they can confidently talk to him about their concerns and problems and that he will give them the support they need.