A voyage of discovery for disabled group

On deck: Karl Goddard embarking on his adventure two years ago.
On deck: Karl Goddard embarking on his adventure two years ago.

LIFE on the ocean wave was once just a dream for disabled people, for whom getting aboard a ship was impossible.

But not any more, as residents from Stothard Court sheltered housing scheme in Sheffield can vouch.

The group, from Crookes, followed in the wake of their friend Karl Goddard, who two years ago was invited aboard specially adapted tall ship the Tenacious.

Karl, who has spina bifida, joined a voyage with the Jubilee Sailing Trust - and this year fellow residents Chris Lewis, Karol Taylor and Debbie Wallace, who all have cerebral palsy, did the same aboard the Lord Nelson.

The trio set sail for the Canary Islands supported by volunteer ‘buddies’ Mike Plint, Sue Brown and Jane Pearson.

Mike said: “Duties included being part of a team to sail and look out, steer, haul the sails and scrub the decks - everything needed to run the ship.”

The voyage was rough, with only 12 people out of 40 surving sea sickness sufficiently to want dinner on the first night. But on dry land the next day the group enjoyed a sightseeing coach trip and lunch inside a giant wine barrel.

“Finally the wind dropped and the rest of the sailing was more relaxing,” said Mike. “We sailed past islands including Tenerife and were joined by dolphins and pilot whales.

“On the last day there were assisted climbs for everyone. Everyone was very brave and felt proud when they finished.

“We came home the next day tired but happy and really pleased we went.”