126 days after having set sail from Largs on the West coast of Scotland, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 Voyage were welcomed back to their starting point today by an ecstatic host of friends, family and supporters as they completed their circumnavigation of the British Isles.
Since the voyage began on 20 May, over 125 young people in recovery from cancer from across the UK have been involved in the project, covering 2,206 nautical miles in 17 legs
CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Frank Fletcher, said: "It is with huge pride that I stand up here today and welcome home Moonspray [the voyage yacht]. This summer, the Trust has taken over 550 young people sailing from around the UK of which Round Britain has played a huge part. The achievements and future potential of every single one of those young people continues to inspire me. To watch this voyage touch so many people around the UK and to see the combined achievements of this Trust crew has been amazing."
The final leg of the voyage left Belfast on Tuesday 19 September with a night stop in Glenarm, Northern Ireland, before making the last major passage of the voyage, across the Northern Channel to Scotland.
Ryan Campbell, 22 from Gourock, was on board for the final leg and had the pleasure of helming Moonspray as they sailed back across the finish line. He summed up what the experience meant to him: "I feel absolutely honoured to be involved in the last leg of Round Britain. It's such an amazing cause and there's nothing else like it out there. It's not focussed on being ill, it's about surpassing what you think you can't do and everyone rises to the occasion."
Ryan first sailed with the Trust in 2014 after treatment for osteosarcoma at CLIC Sargent Scotland and Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. He continued: "I come back to the Trust because it's something I fully believe in. I can see the difference in the other young people by the end of the trip. At the beginning, we're all quite quiet and shy and by the end we're so vibrant."
Amongst the excited guests welcoming the crew back in were around 25 of the young people who sailed with the Trust as part of the Round Britain voyage, Scottish Trust Ambassador and Olympic Silver Medallist, Luke Patience and the local MP and MSP Patricia and Kenneth Gibson.
Luke spent time with some of the young people earlier on in the Scottish legs of the Round Britain voyage and said: "Its been amazing for me to be part of this and to meet some of the young people, hear what they've been going through and how the Trust has helped. The atmosphere here today has been wonderful with so many friends, family and supporters of the Trust coming out to join in the celebrations.
"Half way through this journey I came onboard with the Trust as an ambassador and its been an extremely humbling experience for me. Its been something that more recently has come close to my heart so I've been absolutely honoured to be part of this and share some stories."
Since the voyage began;
• 58 ports, towns and cities have been visited to help raise awareness of the Trust
• 12 hospitals have been visited around the UK to meet young people still undergoing treatment to help inspire them in seeing what is possible after cancer
• Over 8,000 miles have been travelled by the shore support
• 2,206 miles travelled by the voyage yacht Moonspray
Dame Ellen MacArthur, Internationally renowned yachtswoman and Founding Patron of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust said: "It's been fantastic following all the adventures of the young people during Round Britain 2017. It's an amazing journey to sail around Britain and I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who's made it happen. It has massively helped us raise the profile of the Trust; for every young person we can take sailing, there are nine we can't, so in any way you can, please do help to support us."