Westbere Sailing Opportunities helps Sharna to sail

Juliette Beeney tells us about her daughter Sharna sailing at Westbere Sailing Opportunities.
12 Oct 22
Sharna Beeney sailing at Westbere Sailing Opportunities

This is my daughter Sharna who goes out in 'Little Wig' at Westbere Sailing Opportunities. 

Sharna is 23 years old and has Rett Syndrome. She is a wheelchair user, cannot walk or stand, and has anxiety, sleep and epilepsy issues. 

Sharna absolutely loves going out on the water. She is non-verbal, so she cannot say how she feels, but you only have to see her smile to see how much she enjoys sailing. Her hands are quite often together and moving quickly, but once on the water, she relaxes, often falling asleep, and she will then sleep well that night.

Sharna used to go sailing with her school at Westbere. When she became an adult and post covid, I decided to get back in contact and join the Westbere Sailing club so Sharma could take up sailing again.

Sailing has been in the family for a while. Sharna's brother Jonathan was in sea cadets, so he sailed a lot and is now in the Royal Navy. Sharna and Jonathan went canoeing in the sea when she was younger. Now Sharna needs a hoist, and we love that Westbere has one. Sharna also likes going to Wetwheels, which we learned about from Westbere's staff.

The volunteers at Westbere are so friendly and accommodating, and nothing is too much trouble. I love their can-do attitude. 

Sailing really has improved my daughter's quality of life.

Liz Chapman from Westbere says: "The pleasure belongs to all the Westbere volunteers, seeing Sharna's smile while sailing. Also, seeing the joy it brings to Juliette, Sharna's Mum, is rewarding.

"This is our 20th year of Westbere Sailing Opportunities, and the pure satisfaction of seeing all who come to the lake has made each session fun, fulfilling and rewarding."

RYA Disability Development Officer Sarah Sibley adds: 'Westbere Sailing Opportunities is a fantastic site based on a lake near Canterbury, providing sailing opportunities for all levels of ability in a safe and welcoming environment.'

Find out more about Westbere Sailing Opportunities and Wetwheels

RYA Sailability has over 200 locations where disabled sailors can enjoy the outdoors, feel freedom on the water, and learn new skills.