On May 20, a bright blue 44ft yacht, Moonspray, surrounded by a flotilla of local boats, sailed out of Largs Yacht Haven for the start of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017.
Over the course of the summer the Round Britain 2017 voyage will involve over 100 young people in recovery from cancer in this national relay visiting over 60 towns and cities – with Glasgow being the crew’s first main stop.
The initial crew, six of whom have sailed with the Trust as young people in recovery from cancer, arrived in the centre of Glasgow on Wednesday. Ideally positioned on Glasgow City Council’s Plantation Pontoon at Pacific Quay the boat had a perfect berth in the shelter of BBC Scotland and the Glasgow Science Centre and over two days, whilst enjoying Glasgow’s warm welcome, the crew took the chance to explain more about the support the Trust provide.
One of the crew, Krissi (21), said; ‘As a young person, the fact that you get the opportunity to be in a situation with people who are like you and have had the same or similar experience to you is just an amazing thing. Because you get put back into school where everyone just views you as the ‘ill’ one, that just becomes your personality. When sailing with the Trust, where actually everyone was ill, you get to understand who you are as a person and grow so much.’
A highlight for many of the crew came with the arrival of a special guest. Having been supported since 2012 by BBC Children in Need, the Trust had the pleasure of welcoming Pudsey on board as an honorary crew member.
Also climbing on board to learn more about the support available were young people still undergoing treatment for cancer from the Royal Hospital of Sick Children (Glasgow). Some of these young people already have their places booked to go on trips from the Trust’s northern base in Largs later this year. For others, it provided an opportunity to learn more about the support provided by the Trust and speak to some of the crew to hear directly how the charity has helped them to grow in confidence.
The charity’s founding patron, Dame Ellen MacArthur also joined the crew for a day in Glasgow: ‘The Trust aims to rebuild young people’s confidence through positive, shared experiences. For every young person the Trust currently support, there are nine we cannot, yet. As well as providing a phenomenal adventure for the 100 young people directly involved, we hope that by explaining what we do in more towns and cities across the UK, we can help more young people in recovery from cancer in the future.’
With a crew changeover on Friday May 26, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 team will now make their way back down the Clyde to Tarbert where they will moor up alongside competitors in the Scottish Sailing Series before continuing to Oban.
Tom (24), who has been sailing with the Trust since his treatment with cancer and is part of the support crew for the full voyage, said: ‘It’s been an amazing start to the voyage; the welcomes and support we’ve had here in Glasgow and the various ports along the way has just been brilliant – thank you to everyone who has been a part of our adventure this far.’
From Oban, Round Britain 2017 will continue on through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness and down to Edinburgh by late June. The voyage will return to the Trust’s northern base of Largs, Ayrshire for the finish on Saturday 23 September.
by Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust