Last weekend, Inverness Marina played host to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s yacht, Moonspray, which, with a relay team of over 100 young people in recovery from cancer, is circumnavigating the UK. Over the next three months the team will complete a 2,400 mile voyage with Inverness being a key northern stopover and the perfect spot for the handover from the third to fourth crew.
Having navigated through the Caledonian Canal, the crew, six of whom have sailed with the Trust as young people in recovery from cancer, arrived into Inverness on Thursday to a warm welcome from locals and marina staff. With a regatta and BBQ taking place at the marina on Saturday, it was a great opportunity for the crew to host an ‘open boat’ and explain more about the support the Trust provide.
Supporting young people around the UK, the crew of leg three was composed of young people from the local area and some further afield. Half the crew for leg three were Scottish with one young person being from the Inverness area, but not all were local. For Jess, 18 from Hereford, it was a great opportunity for her to see a totally new place: “Not only have I had the chance to catch up with some friends from previous trips with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, but I’ve also got to meet new friends and see new places too. I have never been to Scotland before so having the chance to sail through the Caledonian Canal and meet the locals in Inverness has been brilliant.”
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 hospital 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.
David Findlay, Marina Manager at Inverness Marina added: “We were honoured to have Dame Ellen open Inverness Marina in 2009 so when we heard about Round Britain 2017 visiting Inverness, we immediately contacted the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust to see how we could assist. It’s been fantastic to host the crew of Round Britain 2017 alongside the annual Beauly Firth Yacht Race, with a barbeque for all participants and marina berth holders, giving as much opportunity as possible for people to find out more about this amazing charity.”
While in the area, the crew of Moonspray also took the opportunity to visit young people still undergoing treatment for cancer from Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to discuss some of the support and opportunities available after treatment.
One young person who came along to visit the crew while they were in port who knows only too well the difference the Trust can make, was Georgie (10) from Orkney. Georgie has joined the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust on two previous sailing trips following treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, having been diagnosed at just four years old. Attending the open boat with her friend Effie, the two young girls were delighted to present a cheque in person to the crew of Round Britain 2017 after spending the last month cartwheeling along 21 beaches on mainland Orkney in order to raise money for this charity; in total, the pair have raised over £1,400.
Now onto leg four of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 voyage, Moonspray and her next crew are making their way towards Stonehaven where they plan to meet new friends and supporters and explain in person the support the Trust can provide.
Kate Steven, Project Manager for Round Britain 2017 said: “We’ve had an amazing welcome here in Inverness Marina – to be involved in the fun of the regatta has been fantastic. The welcomes and support we have received has been just brilliant and we want to thank everyone who has played a part in that.”
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that takes young people, aged between eight and 24 from across the UK, on sailing and other water-based adventures to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment. You can follow the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 by visiting: ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/round-britain-2017.