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Leading disabled sailor opens boathouse

PUBLISHED: 09:52 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:47 06 July 2010

A CHARITY which helps disabled people take to the water was given a boost yesterday as its new boathouse was officially opened.

Waveney Sailability, which teaches disabled people and their carers to sail on Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, celebrated the opening of a new purpose-built boat store at Coleman's Dyke, next to the Nicholas Everitt park.

A CHARITY which helps disabled people take to the water was given a boost yesterday as its new boathouse was officially opened.

Waveney Sailability, which teaches disabled people and their carers to sail on Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, celebrated the opening of a new purpose-built boat store at Coleman's Dyke, next to the Nicholas Everitt park.

The group was set up by five local Rotary clubs in 2004 and now has more than 100 members, who are helped by 25 instructors and about 20 volunteers.

As well as providing cover for the charity's 12 boats during the winter months, the new £25,000 boathouse has an outdoor hard-standing area where the fleet can be stored in the summer.

It was officially opened yesterday by Geoff Holt, the chairman of RYA Sailability and the first quadriplegic person to sail single-handedly around Britain.

Waveney Sailability secretary Kevin Taylor said: “Work started at the beginning of October and the basic structure was up in about a month, just in time to put the boats away for the winter. It has now been finished and the boats are back out on the water.”

The frontage of the new building includes a specially made stained glass window, dedicated to the memory of Rotarian Don Ross who served on the charity's steering committee.

Bob McCartney, who has been sailing as part of the scheme for nearly three years, said: “Before we had this new building, the boats used to be scattered all over the town so it could be tricky getting them repaired and ready to go. It's a real blessing to have this new building so everything is in one place. Being able to sail is great because you can just unwind and relax on the water.”

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