The voyage will stop at 20 ports around the UK starting in Cowes (Isle of Wight) and then heading east to Dover, St. Catherine’s Dock (London), Ipswich, Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fort George, Fort William, Largs, Belfast, Isle of Man, Liverpool, Hollyhead, Cardiff, Torquay, Southampton (Boat Show), finishing in Cowes in September 2009. The young people will visit hospitals and young person’s principal treatment centres, across the UK, who have helped them recover from cancer and leukaemia.
For The Ellen MacArthur Trust, which is in its sixth year of operation, this voyage represents the next step. The charity has been running four-day sailing trips from its base in Cowes on the Isle of Wight since 2003; over the last three years it has quadrupled the number of young people that it works with all over the UK. “This is a unique voyage, in that it gives young people in recovery from cancer and leukaemia the chance to share their own experiences with other young people in treatment,” Frank Fletcher on behalf of The Ellen MacArthur Trust.
For Skandia, one of the UK’s leading international long term savings groups, this is a move into new territory and the first announcement of a new sponsorship project since the end of their 14 year sponsorship of Cowes Week. “Ever since we announced we were ending our title sponsorship of Cowes Week people have been asking us what we’re doing instead. Taking title sponsorship of the Round Britain’ Voyage of Discovery’ is one sponsorship we’re really happy to be able to announce today. It’s an exciting opportunity and it means we can take the Skandia brand around the country instead of asking the country to come to us. It also provides great opportunities for our staff and financial advisers to get involved with The Trust and the terrific work it does. It was Skandia staff who chose The Trust to be the official charity of Skandia Cowes Week and it has a special place in many of our hearts,” Tim Sewell Skandia UK brand and sponsorship manager.
The Trust will select the crew for the voyage from the young people who have sailed with them over the last six years. Safety will be an important factor of the voyage; UKSA, a non-profit organisation that has worked alongside The Trust providing safety management since 2003, UKSA will handle all safety management for the Skandia Round Britain Voyage.
Both Trust patrons Ellen MacArthur and Shirley Robertson are hoping to join the young people for some part of the voyage.
“This is an amazing project for The Trust,” said patron Ellen MacArthur. “I cannot fully express the impact that the four-day sailing trips have on these young people. So I can only imagine the effects that a voyage around Britain will have. In 1995, I sailed around Britain and it is fantastic to see them follow in my footsteps, the opportunity for these young people to share their experiences with others in treatment, and show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel is very, very special.”