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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Young people living through and beyond cancer back on the water with Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

by Scott Wilson 14 Apr 08:07 BST
Young people and yacht crew sitting on the side of Solent Hero on a trip from Cowes © Martin Allen Photography

Young people living through and beyond cancer will have the chance to get back on the water with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust this year as the Trust reveals its plans for 2021 today (Wednesday 14 April).

After COVID prevented young people from sailing with the Trust last year, the charity - founded by history-making round-the-world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur - is now looking forward to a brighter summer with a best-case scenario plan to take young people on both day sails and longer cruising trips across the UK between July and September.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that inspires young people aged 8-24 to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer through sailing and outdoor activity. When treatment ends the Trust's work begins, as for many young people, picking up from where they left off before cancer just isn't possible.

Nothing matters more than keeping young people, skippers, volunteers and the team safe this year, so the Trust's season will look a bit different to usual while still giving young people the support they need right now.

Frank Fletcher, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust CEO, said: "We've said it so many times in the past year; young people living through and beyond cancer need us more than ever. The isolation, loneliness and anxiety experienced by young people with cancer has been massively amplified by COVID.

"Bringing them back together is the best way we can make a difference. But it must be safe. Exploring how to do that has been our sole focus this winter and while we can't eliminate all COVID-risk we can minimise it and have revised our safety procedures and risk management measures for all trips.

"Nothing would make me happier than the Trust supporting young people in person again this summer. We now believe we can safely make that happen."

Usually, young people being supported by the Trust for the first time would go on a four-day sailing trip from its bases in Cowes, Isle of Wight or Largs, Scotland. But this year, these young people will have the chance to get a regional one-day Taste of the Trust closer to home. This includes day sails around the coast in places the Trust rarely gets to visit, such as Plymouth, Belfast, Portsmouth, and the North West and North East. Young people will also enjoy more traditional sailing aboard the 70ft Essex Smack, Pioneer, on the east coast.

For young people previously supported by the Trust, there is the chance to enjoy five-day yacht cruises from Cowes and Largs as well as on the Ocean Youth Trust South's 98ft ketch, Prolific. Young people will also be taking part in Round the Island Race, for which the Trust is the official race charity partner again, on 3 July, and the ASTO Small Ships Race in October.

Frank added: "The past year has taught us all it's impossible to be 100% certain about anything. We can plan, but there are still things out of our control that could ultimately decide if or which trips will be able to go ahead.

"We want to be back supporting young people in person so much and really hope we can. For now, I hope everyone can now look forward to, and feel as excited as we are about the prospect of a brighter summer ahead. We can't wait to see everyone again."

For more information about the trips or to support the Trust visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org or follow @emctrust across social media.

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