05 JUL 2018

Amazing Dover project transforming people's lives

Dovorians who have given disabled people the chance to go sailing in a specially-designed boat were hailed at a ceremony last week.

Wetwheels South East, based at Dover Sea Sports Sports Centre, has welcomed more than 600 people aboard since starting up in April.

The founder of Wetwheels, Geoff Holt MBE, praised the local team during a 're-dedication ceremony' for the nine-metre power catamaran, held at Hythe Bay Restaurant on Thursday (June 28th).

Mr Holt, the first quadriplegic to sail around Great Britain and across the Atlantic Ocean, said: "This is a very proud day for me.

"Wetwheels enriches people's lives and gives them confidence. It's fun, it's fast, it's exciting.

"We've made it fully accessible so anyone with any disability can get on board. Even better, they can drive the boat with our special steering systems."

I was invited along to meet Mr Holt and James Salmon, the founding director and skipper of Wetwheels South East.

Mr Salmon said: "It's all part of getting involved, getting out there and enjoying the water and what we have to offer here in Dover and the rest of the Kent coastline."

He told me that the catamaran has space for 12 passengers, including three wheelchairs. The boat travels along the White Cliffs and around the harbour.

Those on board all have a chance to drive the vessel and to become part of the crew.

Wetwheels is a truly inspirational project. Geoff, James and the team are working tirelessly to transform the lives of disabled people.

Everyone should have a chance to go sailing and enjoy being on the water.

Thanks to Wetwheels, this is now a reality for so many more people.

Wetwheels, a community interest company, has five boats in total operating across the UK. Each boat costs £180,000 and £50,000 a year to run.

More information about Wetwheels South East can be found here: https://www.wetwheelssoutheast.co.uk/

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Charlie Elphicke

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