Last week, Newcastle 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 three months the 17 crews of up to five different young people a week, will complete a 2,400 mile voyage with Newcastle being the first stop in England after the voyage set off from Largs in Scotland on 20th May.
Having joined the yacht in Edinburgh the previous weekend, the crew, five of whom have sailed with the Trust as young people in recovery from cancer, arrived into the heart of Newcastle on Thursday with the Millennium Bridge creating a spectacle as it tilted to let the voyage yacht, Moonspray, into the city with its flags flying high. This was the first crew of under 18 year olds who have joined the voyage to date with ages ranging from 13-16.
While in the city, some of the Round Britain 2017 team visited young people still undergoing treatment for cancer at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle to share some of the support and activities available after treatment through the Trust. Tom Roberts, on board reporter and part of the full-time crew for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 said: “It’s been great sharing what we’re doing with young people who could also benefit from a sailing trip with the Trust. I would never have thought I’d be sailing around Britain all those years ago but look at me now! This has been the first-time some young people have gone back to the place they were treated so it’s very special for them to be back with exciting stories rather than treatments.” Tom has been involved with the Trust since 2000 when he did his first trip as a young person following his own treatment for cancer and said he was thrilled to be a part of this amazing voyage of celebration, recovery and achievement.
Newcastle based company Patrick Parsons completed a sponsored static cycle in support of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust; to show support, the whole Round Britain 2017 crew popped into their offices to cheer them along. The Patrick Parsons employees were cycling the equivalent distance that the whole Round Britain 2017 crew would be sailing throughout the course of the voyage – an incredible 2,400 miles.
With the sun shining down on them, the crew held an open afternoon down at Quayside in the city for any members of the public, supporters and friends of the Trust, to come down and have a look at the boat.
Ashleigh Patrick from Newcastle, who first sailed with the Trust as a young person following her treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2014, went down to meet the crew on Saturday afternoon and said: “It was great seeing my hometown get involved in the Trust that I am so passionate about. It was quite exciting having a connection to both the Trust and the visiting place. The Trust brings together individuals following unfortunate circumstances; you’re able to form bonds and push yourself into doing something new which makes you realise Cancer doesn’t stop you having the confidence and ability to achieve anything you want!”
She continued: “I witnessed the interest the public took in the Trust on Saturday and stories of their work; that was just in a few hours in one place. I hope Round Britain 2017 will help to raise awareness and also reach those patients who would benefit greatly from a trip. I urge everyone to please get involved in the Trust’s campaign and tell nine of your friends, family and colleagues about the Trust and the great work they do.”
Now onto leg seven of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 voyage, Moonspray and her crew will be spending some time in Hull, the City of Culture 2017, this weekend.
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/