What a privilege to speak at the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the maiden voyage of Lord Nelson – one of two tall ships run by the Trust and specifically designed for use by less able bodied people.
There were approximately 300 guests at The Grand Harbour Hotel and it was great to have my ocean boat, Lisa Too, on display immediately outside the main entrance to The Mayflower Suite where the dinner was held.
She prompted a lot of interest even amongst so many seasoned sailors, with a good number of transatlantic sailors in amongst the attendees too; the general view seemed to be one of ‘you must be mad rowing that, what is wrong with sails?!’ I agree, now!
The work of the charity is amazing and they are currently looking at other fund-raising opportunities to support them – and that is where we come in with Atlantic Experience and our ThamesRow. Next year we are planning to run a ThamesRow for JST which could include less able bodied crew, sponsors coming on board, a garden party along the way and even people following along the Thames path on foot or bike. There may even be a small flotilla of boats that join us along the way to help raise money and not least raise awareness for the great work of the charity.
On the night it was fantastic to meet so may passionate and driven people, all there pulling together to make something extra-ordinary happen. They ranged from the lady who worked in the engine room of Lord Nelson (yes, she does have to have an engine as well as sails), to the founder of the Charity, Jacquetta Cator; from volunteer Chrissie to ‘ordinary’ Pete, born with no legs and arms to the elbow – yet a three times paralympic Gold medal winner. What a great bloke, telling us amusing and inspirational stories from being shaved down by the girls in the team to streamline his body to the Korean journalist asking how exactly did he use his ears to swim with….!
It was a real pleasure and an honour to speak for the Trust, the them being taking on big challenges and delivering them one small step at a time and that the most important thing is that whilst we need the equipment to make things happen from Pete’s wheelchair, to Lord Nelson – it is the people that deliver it, ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. Great work!
Click here to see more on the Jubilee Sailing Trust, including how you can go on board for a day sail or a multi day voyage….