30 September 2020

Courageous fundraiser Timothy breaks record

A courageous young fundraiser and new record-breaker, Timothy Long, received a warm welcome from his idol, Ellen MacArthur, when he docked in Shepards Marina, in Cowes.

Fundraiser Timothy Long with his idol Ellen MacArthur

At just 15-years-old, Timothy spent his summer circumnavigating a 1,600-mile voyage to become the youngest person to sail around Britain solo completing his record breaking expedition at Hamble Point Marina today (Thursday 1 October).

Not only did he beat the record of Tom Webb, who sailed around Britain aged 17 in 2011, but he has already smashed his fundraising goal raising over £10,000 to help young people in recovery from cancer.

Ellen MacArthur, the Trust's founding Patron, has been Timothy’s greatest inspiration, ever since he read her books when he was young.

He found out about the charity aged 12 and has always wanted to do something to support the work of the Trust. He was too young to volunteer on trips so thought he could make a difference through fundraising.

Timothy was incredibly nervous about approaching Ellen and said “I can’t write to her…. she’s a Dame”, but he plucked up the courage to send an email. Then, out of the blue, a copy of her book “Full Circle” and a Trust baseball cap, both signed by Ellen with the words “Go for it!” arrived.

Inspired by Ellen’s words of encouragement, Timothy donned his Trust cap and set up his Round Britain 2020 project. Sailing single-handed (no support boat or anything) on “Alchemy” his 28ft Hunter Impala, he covered an average of 50 miles per day, but with several much longer passages of up to 100 miles, largely following the route Ellen herself took on as an 18-year-old in 1995.

Being a similar age to many of the young people the Trust supports, Timothy wanted to raise funds and awareness so they could experience the same sense of freedom sailing has given him.

He said: “The Trust does amazing work with young people to rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment, and the experience of being together on a boat can be a real turning point for people who have been through the worst of times.”

During his long and arduous voyage he had to battle giant waves, gale-force winds and sail for 24 hours straight, sleeping for just 20 minutes at a time. But the young people the Trust support were always at the forefront of his mind during these challenging times.

“My 20 hour passage between Eyemouth to Stonehaven made me think of being in the shoes of the young people the Trust supports. I can’t even imagine being diagnosed with cancer at this age but people do and have to go through years of treatment, it’s just crazy. How can you return back to normal life after such a terrible experience without the support of the Trust?”

Timothy was thrilled to receive a warm welcome from Ellen, who personally thanked him on behalf of the young people for his support.

She said: “It is an incredible achievement for anyone to sail single-handed around the UK, but to do it at 15 really is something else. While Timothy will always have the personal satisfaction of that achievement, the legacy of what he’s done will be even more far-reaching in terms of helping to change the lives of young people in recovery from cancer.

“Young people are going to need the Trust more than ever after COVID-19 as the pandemic has amplified the feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, anger and fear experienced by young people undergoing cancer treatment and their families. I send Timothy my warmest congratulations and thank him on behalf of every young person the Trust supports.”

There’s still time to support Timothy on his record-breaking voyage here - Timothy's Round Britain 2020 challenge