Charity offers Scottish sailing trips to young cancer sufferers

Ellen MacArthur visits Sick Kids
Charity: Ellen MacArthur's charity will offer the trips to sick children.

A charity set up by round the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur is offering sailing trips in Scotland to young people recovering from cancer.

Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust will create a sailing hub in Largs, North Ayrshire during the summer.

The charity has been running from the Isle of Wight for almost a decade, taking young people aged between eight and 24 in recovery from cancer and leukaemia on four-day trips on-board 38ft-48ft cruising yachts.

Now, after £40,000 funding from the People's Postcode Trust, it will be able to offer the excursions for two weeks in July round the coast of Scotland.

Dame Ellen has now met Health Secretary Alex Neil at Holyrood to discuss the charity's plans.

"What we are going to be doing this year for the first time is taking young people from Scotland sailing in Scotland. It will basically be replicating what we have been doing for 10 years on the south coast," she said.

"We are really pleased to be working in Scotland. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail and the young people gain so much from the experience.

"We have already worked with over 29 Scottish young people so we know that what the trust does is an integral part of their recovery. Having our services on their doorstep will make such a difference, allowing us to reach even more young people across the country.

"We've already seen what an impact our work on the Isle of Wight has had, so we know our hub in Largs will be just as life changing."

The money from the small-grant giving charity, funded by players of People's Postcode Lottery, will allow the trust to charter the sailing boats from Largs.

Dame Ellen said: "Without this funding we simply wouldn't have had the means to make our dream a reality and, as you can imagine, we are delighted to get it all started."

Mr Neil said: "It's inspiring to see a charity work hard to make a young person's experience of cancer or leukaemia as positive as possible. Simply being involved with the Cancer Trust gives these youngsters the confidence to be young people again, to be around each other and find the strength to get their lives back on track."

People's Postcode Lottery involves players using their postcode to win cash prizes while raising money for good causes in their area. There are five draws a month and 40p from every £2 ticket goes to charity.

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