The Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST) celebrated a record-breaking year with a fund-raising advent carol service at St Constantine Church on Monday [28 November].
Children from Mawnan and Constantine primary schools, many of whom are learning to sail with the HRCST, formed a candlelight procession through the church before an evening of readings and musical performance. They were joined by the church choir and the Trengilly Singers, in a service led by St Constantine vicar the Reverend Stewart Turner.
A collection was held for the HRCST, a charity dedicated to helping young people learn to sail. The organisation, which operates a fleet of more than 80 boats staffed by six qualified sailing instructors, has just recorded its busiest year to date.
“We successfully completed the relocation of our base to Helford Passage and welcomed 609 young sailors – up from 577 last year,” said HRCST co-chairman Richard Nathan, explaining that the charity works with 21 local schools. “We were particularly pleased to welcome 90 special educational needs and disabled children.
“Operating capacity on the Helford is pretty much at its limit,” added Richard. “The fact that outing numbers increased again this year is a tribute to our team of dedicated instructors, under the capable direction of chief instructor Mike Comyn, and our flexible fleet. The weather also helped; while conditions were challenging, we lost virtually no days through adverse conditions.”
The charity, which is helped by more than 120 volunteers on the water, relies on the generosity of its many local supporters to meet annual operating costs of more than £100,000.
“Learning to sail single-handed and to kayak builds confidence and skills in a challenging, natural environment,” said HRCST co-chairman Charles Richardson. “We aim to let everyone participate, so there is no charge to the children.”