Wetwheels Foundation is a registered charity that provides the opportunity for all disabled people to access the sea in a safe, stimulating and rewarding way on board specially built, fully accessible powerboats.
At a fundraising dinner on the Friday evening guests were entertained by a speech from Wetwheels Founder and disabled yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE DL who said: “There is something very special about being on the water. For someone with a disability, being at sea offers unparalleled freedoms. Your mind and imagination fill with things that didn’t seem possible."
A raffle and auction at the dinner, which included prizes donated by local businesses, raised a total of £6,340.
On the Saturday SHYC hosted Deckfest 2021, a live music event organised by Paul Westwood featuring 16 talented musicians who performed multiple sets of live music throughout the afternoon and evening. The musicians donated their time free of charge and asked that the audience donated money to Wetwheels. Collection buckets in the club and the online fundraising page have, at the time of writing, raised a further £1,445 for Wetwheels.
Wetwheels beneficiaries are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families, building confidence and improving physical and mental wellbeing. More than 80% of their participants have never previously been on the open water - something it wants to change.
Dickie Bird, Chair of the RYA Regional Team, said: "I was invited to the event as the RYA Chair for London and South East Region. It was lovely evening with an inspiring talk from Geoff Holt MBE, which no doubt helped members and guests to dig deep to raise this amazing amount of money."
Sarah Sibley, RYA Disability Development Officer for London and the South East, added: "Wetwheels provides a fantastic environment for disabled people to get outdoors and be active, and it's great to have this so well supported by the local community, opening up more opportunities for disabled people in and around the area."
Trevor Phillips, SHYC member and Wetwheels Trustee summed up: “I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the events at SHYC last weekend. The money raised will ensure that we can bring a Wetwheels boat back to Eastbourne next year and be able to run trips with organisations including Chailey Heritage and Chestnut Tree House and provide local people living with disabilities the opportunity to see Eastbourne and the iconic Beachy Head lighthouse from the sea, many for the first time.”