Injured servicemen and women were invited by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, to learn how sailing is accessible for people with a physical disability. The interactive event took place on Monday 25 September close to Tower Bridge, during European Week of Sport, and raised awareness about how the sport is accessible to both physically disabled and able bodied people.
Guests were given a tour of the Lord Nelson tall ship which was designed and built to enable people with a physical disability the chance to sail. Double amputee and former Invictus Games competitor, Sergeant Simon Harmer was in attendance to give his personal account of the benefits of sport and recreation along with cadets and Chelsea pensioners.
The event also saw the launch of the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s latest project, Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge which will see 48 injured soldiers and 96 cadets embark on a voyage around Britain. The challenge will take place in August 2018 and will mark 100 years since the end of WW1 with a celebration of remembrance, inclusivity and diversity.
European Week of Sport (23-30 September) aims to support and promote the benefits of an active lifestyle, via the #BeActive message. With a focus on grassroots initiatives, the event hopes to inspire Europeans to #BeActive on a regular basis and create opportunities in people’s everyday lives to be healthier and happier through physical activity.
On board the Lord Nelson, Simon Harmer commented: “The Jubilee Sailing Trust is an organisation that is doing some incredible things. I’m a soldier, I was injured in Afghanistan in 2009 and unfortunately, I lost both my legs. This project allows me to jump on a ship, with able bodied and disabled crew, and experience the open sea, learn new skills and encourage others to do the same. It’s an amazing organisation and one that I say get involved in because you might have to give a little but I think you’ll get more back in experience and lessons learned.”
Chantel Scherer, Director of Marketing, Communications and Member Engagement said: “European Week of Sport is about raising awareness and educating people on the benefits of leading an active lifestyle. We know that people with a disability are one of the most underrepresented groups when it comes to participating in physical activity and it is our job to make sure that everyone feels they have the opportunity to be active. The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a prime example of how our members are working effectively to break down the barriers to participation in sport and physical activity for those with a disability.”