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Work under way on sailing charity's HQ

PUBLISHED: 23:40 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:07 05 July 2010

A CHARITY helping disabled people to sail has taken its first steps towards building its own headquarters.

Waveney Sailability operates a fleet of dinghies especially adapted for disabled sailors, but needs a space to store the boats.

A CHARITY helping disabled people to sail has taken its first steps towards building its own headquarters.

Waveney Sailability operates a fleet of dinghies especially adapted for disabled sailors, but needs a space to store the boats.

Contractors have now laid the concrete base on part of the land near Colman's Dyke in Oulton Broad where the new boatshed will be.

Over the last three winters, supporters have kindly provided free storage, but now, with an ever increasing supply of boats, as well as a safety boat and equipment, storage is difficult to find.

With the dinghies away from Oulton Broad, the disabled members cannot help with winter maintenance, and during the summer the charity has not had drying or hanging space for the sailing gear and lifejackets.

At the AGM, local artist Peter Fletcher presented the charity with an artist's impression of the new boatshed, and over the last year members and supporters have been raising funds to cover the cost of the new building, estimated to be around £25,000.

Money has been raised to cover the cost of the base and make a start on the building, but more money is needed to complete the project and cover the cost of internal fittings, the electricity and water supply, and install toilets. Storage racks, tools and equipment for repairs and maintenance are also needed.

The trustees hope to be able to finish the building before the winter when, although too cold to sail, some routine maintenance can be undertaken.

They have also recently received three new boats, taking their fleet to 12, beginning with a new access 303 dinghy Spirit of Denise from the Marine Safety Centre.

The boat is in memory of Denise, 28, a relation of Barrie and Wendy Hunt, who are directors of the centre.

The Rev Marilyn Zipfel dedicated and blessed the new boat, before some family members went for a sail, escorted by the largest group of swans ever seen at Oulton Broad - a fitting finale to the presentation that was attended by many family members and friends.

Waveney Sailability is the brainchild of a number of local Rotary groups and recently welcomed Ian Thompson, the national president of Rotary in the UK, and district governor Peter Harris to see their work, as well as enjoying a lunch prepared by Nanna Lay, junior vice- president of Lowestoft East Point Rotary Club.

Another two dinghies, Bishybarnybee and Whirly Gig, are due to be presented to Waveney Sailability soon by members of the Broads Authority sustainable development fund.

Waveney Sailability events take place every Tuesday at Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club, between 1pm and 6pm, where around 30 helpers, carers and sailing instructors help 40 disabled people from the Waveney area into the water.

If you would like to try sailing, telephone Kevin Taylor on 01502 475228.


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