Derry~Londonderry~Doire make donation to local charity

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Local charity ‘Foyle Sailability’ has received £2,000 of a joint donation from the crew of the city’s entry in the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race and the City and District’s Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock.

The race crew has residual crew fund from the race which it is donating to charities and felt it was appropriate to include Foyle Sailability as one of the worthy recipients.

Tony Milsom, who completed the 11 month global circumnavigation on board the 2015-16 race team Derry~Londonderry~Doire said: “The city and region has developed a very special relationship with the Clipper Race which was clearly evident when we arrived in Foyle Port last July. We were overwhelmed by the warm welcome and generosity of spirit that we received and wanted to acknowledge our appreciation in some way. Foyle Sailability was an obvious choice for us, with this charity providing opportunities for sailing to those less able to engage in this wonderful pastime. The Clipper Race is all about ordinary people achieving the extraordinary and about encouraging people from all backgrounds to experience the joy and thrill of sailing. It made perfect sense for us to donate to this wonderful organisation, Foyle Sailability ticked all our boxes.”

The team’s generous donation of £1,000 was matched by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hillary McClintock bringing the total amount to £2,000. She said: “It was an incredibly thoughtful gesture on the part of Clipper 2015-16 Race team Derry~Londonderry~Doire and highlights the wonderful work being carried out by Foyle Sailability in our city and region. People will be aware that my chosen charities for the year are Action Cancer and Tear Fund, however I felt it was appropriate to mark the legacy of the past three Clipper Races that we have participated in and to make this suitable donation. This voluntary organisation delivers opportunities for sailing and other water based activities to people with disabilities from across the North West region of Ireland. Council is committed to expanding the use and enjoyment of our natural assets such as the River Foyle for leisure and tourism and Foyle Sailability play an important role in promoting this.”

Speaking on behalf of Foyle Sailability, Vice Chairman Garry Crothers added: “The entire Foyle Sailability community is overwhelmed by this thoughtful and generous donation. We have worked hard over the past number of years to establish and grow our charity which enables people of all ages with disabilities to get on the water. We have also grown our fleet which allows us to deliver more activities on a more regular basis, something we intend to do in the coming 2017 season. With growth comes added costs and this donation will go a long way to helping us manage those costs.

He added that the Foyle Maritime Festival in 2016 was a great success for the Foyle Sailability in creating awareness and getting more people involved.

“It wasn’t necessarily part of the plan but with the earlier than expected arrival of the Clipper Race boats we were particularly delighted to be on the water as the boats arrived at Foyle Marina. Not only did this add to the great excitement of our volunteers who give their time so generously and our participants, many of whom were experiencing the joy and freedom of being on the water for the very first time but it helped us reach a much wider audience to show people what we do. It was great to hear recently that the race fleet will return again in 2018 as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival and we look forward to be part of the event again.”

Foyle Sailability will be launching our programme of activities for the coming season very soon and we are most grateful for the support of Derry & Strabane District Council and former Clipper Race crew for helping us get our season off to such a positive start.

For anyone interested in the sailing opportunities and activities available for people with a disability or simply wishing to find out more about Foyle Sailability please email foylesailability@gmail.com.