I have sailed for about 30 years starting in a vintage National 12 in and out of the harbour at Southwold as a displacement recreation from running my small village bakery nearby. In 2000 my wife and I moved to Ipswich where I joined the County youth service and became involved with a youth club at The Thomas Wolsey School for children with physical disabilities. This led to an introduction to the Woolverstone Project where I found my niche enabling and facilitating people with disabilities to sail. The Project's trustees encouraged me to become first a dinghy instructor and later a senior instructor. After a couple of years I became the site manager overseeing the two dimensions of the Project at Alton Water and the River Orwell.
Whenever we get the chance, Steph and I take our Twister for a sail. That is still my displacement recreation. (Together with walking Jim - Patterdale Terrier)
I have been volunteering with the Woolverstone Project for over three years and loved it from the day I arrived. I was really struck by the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in the project, how committed everyone seemed to be, and none of this has changed. As a freelance Creative Arts Therapist and a sailor I really enjoy being part of a team enabling people to develop as sailors, or rekindle their love of sailing and also have fun in the process. I have sailed from early childhood in a variety of boats and in 2005 took a year's sabbatical and skippered my MacWester Ketch across the channel and through a number of European countries. I was invited to be a Trustee in 2010 and Chair in 2011 and "oversee" PR, Club House Management and support Fund Raising
I met Peter Hibberd, Woolverstone Projects chief instructor 3 yrs ago at Wardens Centre for disabled. He was a carer for a child there and in passing he said "I hear you sail!" That lead me to visit the Alton Water session one Monday & I have been going ever since as a volunteer and Senior Instructor, so that speaks for itself. I have sailed since the age of 10 & now sail a Leigh Cockler (1905) with my partner & race a Streaker dinghy at Slaughden sailing Club I was made a Trustee in January 2010 and now 'oversee' Operations, Health & Safety and Safe Operating Procedures so work closely with Peter and the operations team.
I learnt about and joined the Woolverstone Project 3 years ago, having been diagnosed with M.S. 20 years ago. Until then, sailing was something to be enjoyed at a distance, not to take an active part in. However, not only did joining reveal to me that taking part was a possibility but I met so many kind, understanding new friends and realised that I wanted to become more involved; this was made possible in 2011 when I was invited to become a Trustee with the position representing the sailors who after all, are a very important part of the Project. I also oversee fund-raising which is a vital part of the Woolverstone Project as without funds we would be unable to maintain and develop the hands on experiences for all involved.
I first heard about the Woolverstone Project when one of the previous trustees gave a talk to my Rotary club about its work and, as I had recently retired and live nearby, I decided to go along as a volunteer. That was almost 3 years ago and I have been going ever since and have recently become a Trustee. There is a very definite club atmosphere to the Monday Open Meetings and it is as much a social occasion for the volunteer helpers as it is for the sailors. Although it is many years since I owned a dinghy having moved on to sailing larger boats it is always a pleasure to get out on the water in one of the Project's boats and to help others to have an opportunity to experience the freedom that sailing brings.