Paralympic Sailor Creates Environment of Encouragement



At the recent Portsmouth Grammar School ‘Celebrity Question of Sport,’ it was audience member Tom Cleary who came out on top.  Tom, 13, was the raffle winner from the night and the prize is a very special day at the 2012 sailing venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).  Paralympic sailor and contestant, Helena Lucas, generously offered a day’s sailing with herself to the lucky winner at the Academy. 

Helena is a great ambassador for the sport of sailing and unquestionably one of the finest dinghy sailors in the world.  Sponsored by Charles Russell LLP and sailing in her 2.4mR donated by the law firm, Helena beat her male competitors to be selected for Beijing, but narrowly missed out on a podium place.  Now she is working tirelessly to turn disappointment to success in 2012.  Helena has started her 2010 season off well winning a silver medal in March at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma and more recently was the 3rd placed Paralympic sailor at the Open World Championships. 

No doubt she will prove a great inspiration to Tom, as he will have the chance to improve his sailing skills, ask her questions on the secrets of her success and pick up an autograph or two.  The budding sailor commented, “I am thrilled that I won a sailing day with Helena Lucas; it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.” 

Headmaster, James Priory, added, “Helena provided our charity raffle with the prize of the night – a unique opportunity to sail with her and other members of Team GB off Weymouth and Portland in the spring.  The winner, 13 year old Tom Cleary, a keen sailor, is totally delighted at the prospect.”

All money raised from the raffle was for two worthy pursuits.  Firstly for a school bursary, founded in memory of former PGS Director of Sport, Neil Blewett, which is designed to assist the education of children who otherwise would not be able to benefit from the school’s unique offering and the established ‘Cambodia Fund’ which is essential in working to build a village school in a remote North Eastern province of Cambodia, ranked in the bottom 10% of the world’s poorest countries. 

Keir Gordon, Head of the Sports Group at Charles Russell LLP, said, “We feel very privileged to sponsor Helena Lucas as she serves as a role model for our youngsters sporting ambitions, attracting them to and retaining them in the sport of sailing.  With the Olympics in the not-so-distant future it’s especially important to create this environment of encouragement.”

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