On Saturday the 24th May spectators around Plymouth Harbour will be treated to a unique sight when the tall ship Lord Nelson sails into the city for a voyage crew changeover.
The 180 ft tall ship that is owned and operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) will be docked at Trinity Pier, just opposite the Brittany Ferry port. This will be the first time Lord Nelson has visited Plymouth for some years although her sister ship, Tenacious, is often a favourite at Navy Days.
Lord Nelson will have sailed from Poole, and will be taking on a new crew for an eight day trip to Dublin that will take in highlights that may include the Isles of Scilly, Northern France or the Channel Islands.
Nine of the mixed ability crew who will be joining the ship in Plymouth come from the Echo Centre in Liskeard. The centre facilitates opportunities and experiences for people with physical disabilities, encouraging personal fulfilment, self-worth and reintegration into the community. They will all be accompanied by volunteers – mostly people employed by Cornwall County Council.
Echo Centre representative Helen Winchurch said, “We feel that one week on JST is worth a years’ physiotherapy and helps hugely with the rehabilitation process. Everyone is looking forward to the trip and our thanks go to all those volunteers who have generously given time and money to make this happen. We are sure they will also gain as a result of the trip.”
Helen also acknowledges the tremendous financial help the Cornwall Branch of JST has given.
She added, “Our experience of sailing with JST is that everyone who embarks on the trip, not only gain confidence and self esteem, but return willing to accept the challenges needed to move forward in their lives.
The JST is a charity which promotes the integration of physically disabled and able-bodied people through the medium of tall ship sailing. It has been running for 30 years, and during that time has enriched, and in many cases changed, the lives of many thousands of people.
Alan Puddicombe, the Secretary of the Plymouth Branch of JST says, “Our two tall-ships are unique. They are the only ships of their type in the world that have been specifically built to enable people to sail together regardless of their physical ability. Spending the summer in British and European waters, they set off in winter for Canarian and Caribbean sun. You have to be over 16 to take part on one of these fabulous working holidays, but there is no upper age limit. Four years ago a crew member celebrated his 99th birthday on board!”
For those between 16 and 25, JST offers a little bit more. Their Leadership@Sea scheme offers fun, excitement and also helps personal development. It also counts as the residential element of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award scheme. If interested, there are bursaries available of up to £300.
This year unfortunately there won’t be an opportunity for the general public to board Lord Nelson, however to celebrate the visit to the city, Plymouth Branch of JST are offering readers/listeners between the ages of 16-25 the chance to win one of three £200 vouchers to use towards a voyage of their choice within the next 6 months. To enter simply send your full contact details to Alistair Meharg, Jubilee Sailing Trust, Hazel Road, Woolston, Southampton SO19 7GB clearly marked PLYMOUTH COMPETITION, by Friday 20 June 2008.
For more information about JST, the Leadership@Sea scheme, or getting involved, go to www.jst.org.uk, or contact Alan on 01752 862868.