THE legacy of a young sailor is to live on at a Hampshire activity centre.
A brand new wheelchair accessible powerboat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, will soon be launched in the name of Cheeki Rafiki crewman James Male.
This comes after two charities, The Wheelyboat Trust and the QE2 Activity Centre joined together to give people with mobility impairments access to waterborne activities, such as nature watching, pleasure boating and powerboating.
Key contributors to the fundraising efforts have been Romsey parents Graham and Lorraine Male, who in May 2014 lost their son James when he and three other sailors on board the Cheeki Rafiki yacht were lost in the Atlantic, when sailing from Antigua back to Southampton.
Learning about the QE2 Activity Centre from friends and recognising that the centre shared their son’s enthusiasm for introducing young people to outdoor activities, the Male’s decided they would like to offer practical support to the charity.
They got the fundraising off to a flying start eventually presenting the centre with a cheque for nearly half the cost of the new Wheelyboat – £13,000.
Graham said: “At 22 years old, James achieved more than most would in a lifetime. Those who met him know that he was extremely popular, a real people person with an infectious smile and the most likeable, selfless guy.
“When the opportunity came up to do something positive to recognise James, the QE2 Activity Centre was the perfect charity to support to give something back to others.
“James loved all types of outdoor sports, but he would have particularly loved seeing everyone on the water enjoying activities the way he did.”“James would have been proud to be a part of the QE2 Activity Centre and overwhelmed by all the good work it achieves for disabled adults and children. He added: “It’s an honour to be able to leave such a fantastic legacy for James.”
Charles Reed, chair of the English Federation of Disability Sport will officially launch the new Coulam V20 Wheelyboat at 1.30pm on Thursday. The event will also be attended by the many donors, who supported the fundraising activities.
It will supplement the centre’s boating activities for disabled people. The QE2 Activity Centre prides itself in being fully inclusive, regardless of ability, and the special features of the Wheelyboat will provide users with mobility impairments with complete independence as they explore downstream and learn how to drive and crew the powerboat.
Phil Oates, Manager of QE2 Activity Centre said: “This is a great addition to the Centre’s fleet and will bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. I’m very proud that Graham and Lorraine have chosen to support QE2 Activity Centre in memory of James and very grateful to all who supported the Males and the Wheelyboat Trust to make it happen.”
Andrew Bridge, 22, James Male, 22, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56 all lost their lives when the Beneteau 40.7 lost its keel and capsized on a return trip from Antigua Sailing Week to Southampton in May 2014. Their bodies have never been found.
Douglas Innes, who was convicted of failing to ensure the safety of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki, has announced that his company, Stormforce Coaching has ceased trading.
The 42-year-old made the announcement on the company’s website following the verdict on 14 July 2017
Story regarding the verdict here
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Source : Daily Echo UK