Cancer survivor’s sailing success

A teenager who recovered from cancer was given the chance to sail with a national charity in a cruising week with a difference.

Jake Peach, 14, from Halstead, sailed with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in a 19th century boat.

He was part of a group of young people who spent five days at sea, returning to shore on Thursday after setting off from Essex the previous Sunday.

The trip was part of the charity’s ‘Return to Sail’ initiative, which invites teenagers who have recovered from cancer and have been involved with the trust before to sail again with the charity.

Jake, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukaemia three years ago, had sailed with the cancer trust once before so felt confident about the excursion.

“The last trip inspired me to get out there and do the things I wanted to try,” said Jake, who was speaking before the challenge.

“It was amazing to make new friends and have a good time learning to sail. I hope this next trip will be an adventure.”

The group sailed around the back waters of the east coast in two yachts: a 19th century flat-bottomed barge and a traditional fishing vessel.

Dame Ellen MacArthur joined the young sailors during the five-day voyage to welcome them back to the trust and was amazed at their progress.

She said: “These children are truly amazing. They face experiences that no child should ever have to go through, and yet they do it with the biggest smiles on their faces. They are truly inspiring.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur founded the trust in 2003 after spending time with a similar organisation in France.

The charity’s aim is to boost the self-confidence of young cancer patients through sailing, allowing them to test themselves in a supportive environment.

For more information, go to www.ellenmacarthurcancer