Last week, Hull, the City of Culture 2017 played host to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s Round Britain 2017, a relay of over 100 young people in recovery from cancer circumnavigating the UK. Over the next two and a half months, the 17 crews of up to five different young people a week, will complete a 2,400 mile voyage, finishing back where they started at the charity’s northern base in Largs, Scotland.
Jenny, 23 from North Yorkshire, was part of the crew on leg seven. She explained what it had been like to sail past her hometown of Scarborough on route to Hull: “Being able to sail past my hometown was quite a poignant moment and one which I know not many other people will get the opportunity to experience. It was also fun to point out some of the landmarks to the rest of the crew!”
Jenny first sailed with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in 2016 after finishing treatment for Acute Myloid Leukaemia at Castle Hill Hospital. She continued: “Round Britain 2017 made me feel like I was part of something bigger! Sailing from Newcastle to Hull felt like a massive achievement for me especially after being so ill. The trip, has given me a huge boost and made me look to the future in a positive way.”
Having joined the yacht in Newcastle the previous weekend, the crew, six of whom have sailed with the Trust as young people in recovery from cancer, sailed via Whitby and arrived into Hull on Friday (7thJuly) morning after a long night sail. Being a particularly tidal area, the crew sailed up the River Humber but dropped anchor as they waited for the afternoon lock gate, before mooring up safely in Hull Marina.
After some well needed sleep and a few interviews on arrival, the crew of Moonspray, were invited on board a square rigged Humber Keel Comrade by Hull Sailing Club for dinner and a good look around; a type of boat most of the crew had not had the pleasure of being on before.
On Saturday, 8th July, the Round Britain 2017 team hosted an open boat session down at Hull Marina to give the public, supporters of the Trust and friends and family of the young people taking part, the opportunity to look around the boat, meet some of the full-time crew and find out more about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Amongst those that visited was Martin Pluves, CEO of LCH Ltd and a Trustee of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Martin is originally from Hull and brought along some of his family to find out more. He said: “I watch the effect of trips on young people here; it kick starts their confidence and the magic of sailing has a transformative effect. Young people are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential in a fun setting, regardless of upbringing or background and despite physical limitations.”
The stopover in Hull held lots of resonance for the charity as internationally renowned yachtswoman and Founding Patron Dame Ellen MacArthur began her first solo voyage around Great Britain from Hull in 1995. Dame Ellen said: “My sail round Britain was a huge challenge for me, and the feeling I had as I sailed out of those lock gates at Hull Marina was one of the most powerful ever. Behind me on the dock was the past and beyond me was my future, the wide expanse of the river Humber leading out to sea.” She added: “Hull holds a special place in my heart because I had been working in the David King Nautical School in Hull Marina, which I absolutely loved. The Humber was a wide, windswept, tidal river but I loved it!”
Now onto leg eight of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 voyage, Moonspray and her crew are on route to Harwich for the weekend before a longer stopover in the capital at the tail end of next week to mark the half way point.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust aims to build confidence through positive shared experiences. For every young person they currently support, there are nine they cannot, yet. This can only be changed with a shift in awareness, both within hospitals and medical support networks, and a step change in public profile. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust hope that Round Britain 2017 and its social media campaign #tell9people will be a key catalyst for this change.
You can follow the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 live on their website by visiting: https://www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/round-britain-2017/live-tracker/