Back to news archive
The journey to fly the JST Flag in Germany
The first thing we discovered whilst waiting at the ferry port was the meaning of LD Lines. LD= late departure. Once the formalities over and the cabin located, I lay in the bunk thinking 'great, over the generator – jus like on Tenacious!’ however, the noise abated and I realised it must have been the bow thruster. Then I could not sleep wondering which way we were facing, we were located in the bow but if we had turned were we going the right way? Then the motion of the ship kicked in and it reminded me of being on Lord Nelson and the gentle rocking and hey presto, asleep!
The weekend was 'me’ time and we drove to Lille via Agincourt stopping for the historical aspect but on arriving at Lille – I am looking forward to leaving it! The time for 'me’ consisted of a visit to Ipres in Belgium and a moving ceremony at the Menin Gate. Last year I attended to wreath laying and bugles this time was unusual as there was a pip band and a Belgium marching band – lovely moment before the busy week at Dusseldorf.
Tuesday was busy and Wednesday was the first day of the show. On arrival we found our 'pitch’ overrun and had to seek assistance to re-claim our territory. But everyone was friendly and many people visited the stand and we gave away over 2500 eye patches over the four days.
Germany has such a diverse range of support and opportunities. One of my highlights was a three year old in a wheelchair 'doing a runner’ from her parents. We were lucky to be joined by Gudrun, one of our BMs who is German and was an absolute star on the stand. The main reason for the visit to Germany was to cement a new partnership with the BSNW based at Wedau Sport School. They are chartering Tenacious next August to sail into London to coincide with the start of the 2012 Paralympics.
So for a country the size of Germany – we have 'dipped’ our JST toes in this water and now have left wide-eyed Europeans amazed that those with disabilities and sensory impairments can really sail a tall ship. We have been asked back and I have learnt not only more about the facilities for disabled in Germany but a whole new range of language. When I lived there 20 years ago I never needed to know how to explain sailing for wheelchair users or how visually impired can steer a tall ship but now I can do it in two languages and after just a few days in Dusseldorf, I can’t wait for the voyage next Summer.
Josephine Hall - Fundraising and Business Development, JST