Sailing club and cancer rehab programme among this year’s Leeds Cares Award nominees

They are already on the crest of a wave after winning royal recognition for their work with disabled people.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 5:00 am
A Sailfree session at Otley Sailing Club.

Now the team at Otley Sailing Club are hoping they will be able to celebrate more success at this week’s Leeds Sports Awards ceremony.

The sailing club is one of the nominees for the new Yorkshire Evening Post-backed Leeds Cares Award being presented at the event.

Its shortlisting follows confirmation that the club has secured a Duke of York Community Initiative Award for its Sailfree scheme, which offers dedicated sailing sessions for disabled adults and children and those with complex learning difficulties.

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Active Beyond Cancer ambassador Richie Myler.

And today, in the final part of a special YEP series on the Leeds Cares Award hopefuls, the club’s vice commodore, Magnus McDonald, told of his pride at the nomination.

He said: “Whilst we’ve had national recognition for the work we’ve done with disabled sailors, it’s fantastic to be shortlisted for this award and get local recognition for the work we’ve done with specialist schools in the Leeds and Bradford area.

“Whilst nothing makes us happier than seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces when they get out on the water, it’s also great that the hard work and time that our tireless volunteers put in is appreciated.”

Praise for the Sailfree scheme came today from the Hollybank Trust, a charity based in Mirfield.

The Trust’s Chris Silverwood said: “This is one of the best enrichment activities we offer. Our adults, who have profound multiple learning disabilities and severe and complex medical needs, have so much fun being out on the water.”

The club has run more than 2,700 Sailfree sessions over the last year at its home, Weston Water in Otley.

It also organises regular family fun days and social events as well as courses covering everything from sailing refresher tips to powerboat training.

It is currently looking for new volunteers, visit for further information.

The Leeds Cares Award has been introduced to recognise the work done by individuals and groups to promote fitness in the city.

It is being run in conjunction with Leeds Cares, a charity dedicated to improving healthcare services for patients across Yorkshire.

The list of nominees for the award also includes Yorkshire Cancer Research and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

The two charities have been jointly nominated for their work providing a rehabilitation scheme called Active Beyond Cancer.

It aims to help people recover and live well after a cancer diagnosis by offering them free fitness coaching and advice.

The programmes take place over 12 weeks and include healthy lifestyle talks, exercise opportunities and taster sessions for activities such as tai chi and chair gymnastics.

Leeds Rhinos star Richie Myler is an ambassador for the Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded scheme, which runs at the city’s Armley, Rothwell and Fearnville leisure centres.

It has been getting impressive results since its launch in 2017, with half of all participants continuing to do exercise on a regular basis.

To register an interest in taking part in an Active Beyond Cancer programme, e-mail [email protected]

Yorkshire Cancer Research/Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Otley Sailing Club’s fellow Leeds Cares Award nominees are the Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors, Leeds Gymnastics Club, table tennis coach Peter Thompson and Andrew Gardner, who runs an initiative called Sport Promoting Inclusion for the Disabled and Equal Rights in Yorkshire (SPIDER-Y).

Prizes will be given out in a total of 17 categories at the Leeds Sports Awards ceremony, which is being held at the First Direct Arena this Thursday.

High-profile figures who could be celebrating on the night include Pablo Hernandez, Josh Warrington and Nicola Adams.

Other well-known nominees include Alicia Blagg, Gabby Adcock, Jack Laugher and Adil Rashid.