Gainsborough: Teen recovering from cancer set sail on an inspirational sailing trip

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

A Gainsborough teenager who is recovering from cancer set sail on an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust.

Thomas Smith, 18, from Gainsborough took part in the trip, along with 13 other young people between the age of 18 and 24 -year-olds in recovery from cancer.

Thomas joined the crew of one of four yachts, to sail around the Solent on the south coast from September 14 to 17, in a four-day yacht adventure.

For Thomas, who finished cancer treatment in May 2013 for a brain tumour at Queen’s Medical Centre, this was his first time sailing with the Trust.

He said: “We all got on really well and I would love to stay in touch with everyone because we’ve all been through kind of the same thing, we’ve got a lot in common.

“We didn’t know each other at all at the start of the week and now we all get on really well together.”

Sailing onboard 42 to 48 foot cruising yachts, the Trust trips provide a chance for the young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.

Thomas added: “The best part was probably the sail back on the last day. The sun came out and it was just really nice to turn the engine off and just drift in the wind. It was very peaceful. “

Departing from their south coast HQ in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight on Monday the trip navigated the waters of the Solent, which took them to various stopovers including Yarmouth Harbour and the picturesque bay of Newtown Creek for a BBQ. Before putting their new skills to the test cruising back into Cowes.

The aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.

Dame Ellen, who tries to spend a day on as many trips as possible, said: “The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness. Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”

In its 12th year, the Trust has grown beyond every expectation into a national charity. Working with every young person Principal Treatment Centre and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK. Taking young people aged between 18 and 24 who are recovering from cancer on four-day sailing trips.

To become a Friend of the Trust and help them to continue to provide support and encouragement to young people in recovery from cancer visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org.