28 March 2023
Gareth was presented with the Trust's Luke Gilbert Volunteer of the Year award at our annual Volunteer and Skipper Training Conference in Birmingham on Saturday (25 March) after the 52-year-old left a huge impression as part of the crew on an over 18s first-time trip from Cowes last year.
He was inspired to get involved with the charity after a colleague, who had previously volunteered on a trip, said it would be up his street.
Gareth said: “He was absolutely correct. Last year was my first time sailing with the charity and I absolutely loved it. I loved the whole atmosphere, I loved the young people and seeing what it did for them."
Having just sailed with the Trust for the first time in 2022, he has already fit right in to the wide community: “It’s such a fabulous charity. It does such good work and it’s got a unique recipe for helping young people. There is something about the people, a feeling of togetherness and sailing, while isolated from the troubles of the world. I think that’s the magic of what the Trust does.
“No one volunteers for recognition, but it’s a lovely to feel you’ve made a difference to other volunteers, the skippers the Trust works with, and most importantly the young people they support.”
Gareth was nominated for the award by young people who have been supported by the Trust. He spent four days on the water last summer, sailing as part of a crew from Cowes, and he stood out for giving the trip his all.
One nomination said: “Gareth was incredible. From the first minute, he made everyone feel welcome and was so lovely. Even though it was his first trip, it seemed like he’d done it a million times before.
“He kept us laughing all week long, everyone on our boat said he was their favourite part of the trip. He is a huge asset to the Trust and I really hope our paths cross in the future.”
Another said: “He went above and beyond being a medic. Besides making sure we were taken care of, he made us food every day. If we needed anything he was there to help, even if it was just to put a smile on our faces, he never failed.”
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s Luke Gilbert Volunteer of the Year Award was introduced in 2017 in celebration of the Trust’s legendary volunteer. Luke’s incredible personality, sense of humour, enthusiasm, compassion and huge amount of fun made him an inspiration to everyone he met. The annual award winners will have demonstrated all the qualities Luke embodied.