Sailability Northern Regatta: Youngsters take to the water

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Youngsters from Leeds schools swapped classrooms for sailing boats when they took to the open water.

Pupils from John Smeaton Community College and John Jamieson School took part in Otley Sailing Club’s recent Sailability Northern Regatta.

The event encourages students, who have a range of disabilities, to take to the waves and gain independence by sailing on their own.

They faced competition from pupils from Lancashire in the Regatta and Yorkshire students triumphed on the day.

The club’s Sailfree has been presented with the The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2012.

The accolade was created by the Queen back in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee and the group was among 112 volunteering organisations to be recognised with the award.

Otley Sailfree was started up nearly two decades ago by Otley Sailing Club member Norman Stephens.

The programme enables young people with physical and learning difficulties to have a chance to take to the water and sail.

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