Marchwood children get a taste of life on the water thanks to ABP Southampton

Wednesday 9 June

Pupils from Marchwood Primary School with Clive Thomas from ABP and SWAC staff

Pupils from Marchwood Junior School got a taste of life on the water on Friday (June 5) with a little help from the city’s port.

A group of 12 children from the school were desperate to take part in the port’s ABP Southampton Sailing Academy but their hopes hung in the balance because of a lack of transport.

When the port heard about their dilemma it stepped in and donated the use of a mini bus for five days, ensuring the adventurous youngsters could try their hand at sailing.

Clive Thomas, port manager, said: “The ABP Southampton Sailing Academy provides a fantastic opportunity for children to get out on the water. There was no way we were going to let a lack of wheels stop these keen youngsters from giving it a go so we were more than happy to step in and help out with a minibus.

“Seeing them having such fun on the water today has been incredibly rewarding and we hope we’ve inspired some of them to take up sailing as a sport.”

Pupil George, aged 11, said: “I’ve only tried sailing once before and I really liked it so I was really excited to come back today. The main thing I learnt from it is how to be calm and not panic. When the boat tips over it can be a bit scary but I’ve learned how to keep calm and carry on.”

ABP Southampton Sailing Academy was set up last year thanks to a £10,000 investment from the Port of Southampton. It gives children from inner-city schools, many of which are first-timers, the chance to try sailing through a series of taster sessions at Southampton Activities Water Centre (SWAC).

The academy is set to help around 100 children get out onto the water this year. Already pupils from Newlands and Forest Park schools have donned their wetsuits as part of the programme and over coming weeks pupils from Holy Family and Sinclair Primary schools are set to do the same.