VIDEO: Sir Jimmy Savile on board to launch club's hi-tech vessel

TAKING to the water will be plain sailing for disabled youngsters after they received one of Yorkshire's first specially-adapted dinghies.

Sir Jimmy Savile OBE was among the guests of honour at the launch of Holly May, which is the latest addition to the fleet at Otley Sailing Club.

The dinghy, paid for with two charity grants, will give wheelchair-bound visitors the freedom to sail alone for the very first time.

Disabled sailor Emma Guite, 23, enjoyed the first sail in the state-of-the-art dinghy after choosing the name Holly May in a competition.

Watching the historic launch, Sir Jimmy said: "Otley Sailing Club is one of those organisations, not only in Britain but in the world, that's fantastic.

"What it does for the young disabled people who never dreamt they could go out in a dinghy on a lake is incredible. Not only can they go out, but the biggest thing is that they go out on their own.

"When they come back and they've sailed a dinghy on their own on this lake, you can imagine what it does for them."

The dinghy, given to the club's Sailfree project, was bought with grants from LHF Healthplan and 96.3 Radio Aire and Magic 828's charity Cash for Kids, which benefits from the YEP's Toy Appeal.

Features include specially-adapted electronic controls and special rigging to prevent injury.

Commodore Peter Fox now hopes to use the Australian dinghy, worth 7,000, in an Olympic-style event for disabled sailors.

He said: "We've had an ambition to get a boat like this for many years. It will give users so much freedom and a real sense of achievement.

"In the future, we want to encourage wheelchair-users to join the racing fleet and race against able-bodied members.

"We also have plans to hold a special Olympics event for people all over the country, competing in similar kinds of boats."

Cash for Kids manager Ros Raine added: "We are absolutely delighted to have been able to help this amazing project.