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The 2018 sailing season was The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s busiest season yet, supporting more young people in recovery from cancer than ever before. It was their first season using the new Spinlock Deckvest lifejackets funded by The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF).

This year was the Trust’s 15th anniversary, during which, 646 young people in recovery from cancer sailed - the highest number to date. More than 280 of those were on a first-time trip from the Trust’s bases in Cowes on the Isle of Wight or Largs on Scotland’s West Coast.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that rebuilds confidence after cancer, using sailing to support, empower and inspire young people between the ages of 8-24 in embracing their future with optimism following treatment.


Frank Fletcher, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust., said: “More young people sailed with us than ever before this year Because the new lifejackets further improved their safety and were comfortable to wear, the young people were free to push their physical limits in a way many won't have done since treatment, while enjoying all the other emotional and mental benefits of being on a trip with others who have gone through similar experiences. Being confident in the lifejackets helped breed confidence in themselves."

The Trust’s vision is that every young person who has experienced cancer has the chance to reengage with life and reimagine their futures through their involvement with the Trust. The BATF awarded the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust a grant of £19,500 over three years to purchase 162 lifejackets. This enabled the Trust to replace their full stock of lifejackets with redesigned versions, which allow greater freedom of movement and comfort whilst providing a higher safety standard by making it easier to retrieve someone from the water.

18-year old-Kaleb Ells from Hall Green, Birmingham, sailed for the first time with the Trust this summer, having being diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago. He commented:

“It's nice to be able to talk to others who get the fragility of life. I was sat at the front of the boat with people talking about their experiences with their diagnosis, treatment and relationships with friends and family, and everyone’s defences dropped. People were saying what they found hard and that was refreshing to hear. I got a confidence boost from knowing it is actually fine to find it hard and that other people find it hard too.”

"It was nice doing something physical too, focusing on your body, what you're doing with your hands and your balance. I think that gives you the opportunity for a breather to process things. I loved it and want to go back.”

The BATF are delighted to be able to provide practical and enduring support to the Trust, to enable them to continue to play such a vital part in young people’s cancer recovery.

The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) is a trade association with over 3000 members  across the jewellery, giftware, surface engineering, travelgoods and accessories industries. The BATF have been supporting these industries since 1887.

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