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Open Water Swim To Fundraise For A Wheelyboat For Young Epilepsy Students

October 7, 2015

A press release:

On Friday 9 October a special open water paddle and swimathon will be taking place at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Grinstead, Sussex to raise funds for a specially designed disabled-access Wheelyboat for the students of St Piers School and College in Lingfield, Surrey. Over 100 children and adults will be taking to the water in kayaks and wetsuits to complete the 4km route to raise funds towards the £34,000 needed to purchase the Wheelyboat. The specialised powerboat will enable the students, supported by the charity Young Epilepsy, to take part in open water boating activities that form an important part of their curriculum.

The Wheelyboat Trust is a national charity that provides disabled people with the opportunity and freedom to enjoy water-based activities all over the UK, for sport, wildlife watching, recreation, education or rehabilitation purposes. The specially designed Wheelyboats are simple to board via their roll-on, roll-off bow ramps and their level deck provides access to every corner of the boat including the helm, overcoming practical difficulties and providing disabled users with independence to make the entire water accessible.

Young Epilepsy is a national charity working exclusively on behalf of the 112,000 young people under the age of 25 in the UK with epilepsy. The charity runs St Piers School and St Piers College in Lingfield, Surrey where it provides highly specialised education and healthcare for children and young people with epilepsy, autism and other neurological conditions. The school is raising funds to acquire the Wheelyboat Trust’s latest model, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20. This Wheelyboat is capable of reaching speeds of up to 30mph, allowing it to be used for more adventurous and thrill-seeking powerboating. The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 seats up to 10 adults including 6 wheelchair users and has a specially designed drive-from-wheelchair helm making Powerboat 2 and Inland Waterways Helmsman qualifications a reality for those with disabilities.

The V20 Wheelyboat will benefit all 180 students at the school and college, many of whom have profound and complex learning difficulties. The students will be able to experience the sensory stimulation and pleasure of being on the water, while many will enjoy learning how to drive a powerboat. The addition of this Wheelyboat will enable the school’s boating programme to be extended to more varied and adventurous waters around the UK, support St Piers’ delivery of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, and benefit other local special schools that participate in the boating programme.

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “The Wheelyboat Trust is helping to raise 50% of the funds needed to purchase the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, but this still leaves £17,000 left for the school to raise. We hope the swimathon will be a great success to kick start their funding as the boat will form a very important part of the students’ activities and curriculum, and will help those with profound disabilities get out on to the water having fun.”

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