A FEW years ago, Shaun Evans admits, he would have been very reluctant even to camp in his back garden, such was his lack of confidence when it came to the ‘great outdoors’.
But now the 20-year-old from Coedpoeth, Wrexham, is looking back on a five day expedition on board Tenacious, a 65-metre sailing ship.
Shaun has cerebral palsy but hasn’t let his condition hold him back.
In 2008, Shaun was recognised for his voluntary work and selected as Wrexham Maelor Lions Club’s young ambassador.
He has since continued a close relationship with the Lions and has continued to expand his volunteering enterprises, running computer and holiday clubs in his home village.
He is also about to start his second year at Wrexham’s Glyndwr University where he is studying computer games development.
But his tall ship adbventure was something quite different.
“It was hard work, and a bit rough at times” Shaun admitted. “But it was great fun.
You had to work as a team and that was brilliant.”
Tenacious is one of only two tall ships in the world designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals.
Both she and sister ship Lord Nelson are operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust whose mission is to promote the integration of people of all physical abilities through the challenge and adventure of sailing tall ships on the open sea.
Shaun’s five day trip took him and his fellow crew members to the Channel Islands where they stopped off in Jersey.
“We did team building exercises,” Shaun continued. “You were on one of two watches and, when you were not on watch, you were sleeping or eating but you were on call all the time.
“One day you were on one duty, the next you were on the other. Everyone had to do mess duty and mine was the first day we were on board.
“I’d never been on a ship before so it was very hard – it would have been a lot easier later in the week.” When he arrived, Shaun had no intention of climbing the high rigging on the ship but, before the week was over, he did.
“They never made you do anything you didn’t want to do, they just offered you encouragement,” Shaun added.
Shaun’s trip was funded by the Lions and by Wrexham Youth Service, and he enjoyed it so much he is currently saving to fund the next trip himself.
The Jubilee Sailing Trust became a registered charity in 1978 and was the brainchild of Christopher Rudd, a school teacher and sailor who wanted to give the disabled children he taught the same experiences as the able-bodied pupils. A chance meeting with Dr Tony Hicklin, a consultant rheumatologist and specialist in rehabilitation, cemented the idea further.
The charity now offers a range of experiences on board Lord Nelson and Tenacious – from a day sailing in the Solent up to a month long voyage.
For more information visit www.jst.org.uk.
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