ABP Southampton charity Wetwheels achieves marathon fundraising target

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ABP runners with Wetwheels Foundation Chief Executive, Neil Wilson and Wetwheels volunteer, Jo Ekin

ABP Port of Southampton’s charity of the year, The Wetwheels Foundation, has achieved its target of raising £5,000 from this year’s Southampton marathon, meaning that over 200 people with disabilities from across the Solent region will be given the opportunity to access the water, barrier-free, this summer.

Representatives from the charity were joined by runners from ABP Southampton for the marathon events on Sunday 24 April.

Wetwheels provides opportunities for disabled people of all ages, often with profound and multiple disabilities, wheelchair users and those with life-limiting conditions, to spend time out on the water and enjoy an experience like no other, even taking the wheel. Wetwheels has two local boats, Hamble and Solent, with four others across the UK, and soon to be seven.  

As well as members of ABP’s team running for Wetwheels, ABP’s sponsorship of the marathon meant it was able to offer free registration to others running for the charity. Wetwheels founder, Geoff Holt MBE DL, recently visited ABP Southampton to talk to the team about his motivation behind starting the charity, having been paralysed in a swimming accident when he was 18. Geoff spoke about the huge difference time on the water can make to people, evoking memories and creating a love of the sea.

“Being on the water is a unique experience for someone with a disability. The real magic happens out there, over the horizon, a sense of freedom and sharing something special. The support received through this wonderful event, and our wider partnership with ABP Port of Southampton, is helping create more dreams and memories, and thank you to everyone for taking part”.

ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch, says: “We’re pleased our partnership with Wetwheels is off to a strong start and will make a tangible difference to people’s lives this year. We’re looking forward to many more fundraising initiatives from our team throughout 2022 in support of this brilliant cause. Thank you to everyone for being part of this special day and making such a difference for many local people.”