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HELFORD River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST) celebrated its 20th year of operations with a fund-raising advent carol service at St Constantine Church on Tuesday [5 December].

The young sailors, who are pupils at Mawnan and Constantine primary schools, formed a candlelight procession through the church before an evening of readings and music. 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 boosted funds for the charity, which is dedicated to helping young people learn to sail. The organisation is about to enter its busiest phase to date with development of its activities both on the Helford River and at a new site on the Lizard Peninsula.

“HRCST provides free tuition in sailing and kayaking for 20 local primary schools, as part of their school curriculum,” explained HRCST co-chairman Charles Richardson. “In 2017, the Trust’s chief sailing instructor Mike Comyn and his team of highly qualified instructors taught more than 650 school pupils and visiting children.

“Over the past few years there has been a greater emphasis on the provision of tuition for local children with special needs or disabilities,” added Charles. “HRCST has built a close relationship with several specialist schools, including Curnow School and Nine Maidens. Cornwall College Camborne also sent a group of older children with severe learning disabilities to try the course for the first time this year, which was a great success.”

The Trust will continue to provide teaching for school children and visitors on the Helford River from its base at Helford Passage. In addition, an inland site – Trevassack Lake on the Lizard Peninsula – has been acquired by the Trust to develop a totally new facility, primarily designed for children and young people with special needs or disabilities.

“Planning consent has been obtained for a learning centre at Trevassack, from which the Trust will offer a wide range of watersports training – both indoors and outdoors – as well as offering a new facility for the local community,” said Charles. “Subject to funding, HRCST plans to open the new learning centre in 2019.”

HRCST trustee Christopher Fawell added: “The charity was started in 1997 by John Green, from his house on the Helford River, and has grown every year. John’s ambition was that every local child should have the opportunity to learn to sail single-handed, regardless of their family circumstances. It was fantastic to see so many young sailors here tonight to help celebrate HRCST’s record year, as we look ahead to the exciting developments in 2018 and beyond.”

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