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Group gives sailing club a £2,000 boost
A Wharfedale sailing club’s groundbreaking work with disabled youngsters has been given a £2,000 boost.
The donation, from the Building & Engineering Services Association, will help Otley Sailing Club’s Sailfree programme continue to prosper.
The club has a fleet of specialist dinghies, weighted to prevent capsizing, that it uses to get dozens of children and young people with physical disabilities or learning difficulties out onto Weston Water each week.
The Building & Engineering Services Association’s regional manager, Neil Ashford, presented the cheque last Thursday, as 18 students from John Jamieson School and John Smeaton Community College, in Leeds, were enjoying a sail.
Club commodore Matt Thomas said: “This donation will make a big difference and we really appreciate it.
“We’ve been very lucky to have had this generous support from the association for several years now.”
Treasurer Clare Fox said: “This money will be a very useful boost to our Sailfree work, which we do as part of the RYA’s national Sailability scheme.
“That work has really grown since it was all started off by Norman Stephens 22 years ago, with some little tub-type boats. Norman, who’s still at the heart of it now, deserves full credit.
“We now have weekly visits from children from Henshaws, in Knaresborough, Holly Bank School, at Mirfield, and from John Smeaton and John Jamieson. We work with young people of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs who we can winch in and out of the boats, and we’re also doing work books with the children so what they do here ties in with their school curriculum.”
Mr Ashford said his association was delighted to again be supporting the club.
He said: “Every year we hold an annual black tie event where our chairman chooses his own charity and, for the last few years now, Otley Sailing Club too. I hope £2,000 will be a big help here in supporting the fantastic work they do.”
The holder of a Sailability Centre of Excellence award, the club was visited by Princess Anne – the patron of RYA Sailability – six years ago when they launched a new addition to their dinghy fleet.