Petworth charity launches wheelchair friendly boat at the Conway Centre

wheelyboat trust
wheelyboat trust

Petworth charity The Wheelyboat Trust, which turns 35 this year, launched its 200th wheelchair accessible powerboat, a Coulam Wheelyboat V17 at the Conway Centre in Anglesey on Saturday.

The new Wheelyboat was officially handed over by the trust to its new owners, SEAS at Conway Centre, an outdoor activity centre in Anglesey.

Named Phil Braden after the late Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Cymru Wales chief executive who passed away earlier this year, the new vessel is based on the Menai Straits, enabling disabled users of the Conway Centre to enjoy water-based activities.

The launch event, at the Conway Centre, started at 1pm, where the new boat was officially named and launched by Debbie Braden, Phil Braden’s widow.

Gerwyn Owen, the current RYA Cymru chief executive, was also in attendance, alongside representatives from Sports Wales and Disability Sports Wales.

Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust, which is based in Burton Park, said: “In March this project featured on BBC Countryfile, showcasing the fantastic work of The Wheelyboat Trust and the Conway Centre.

“We showed presenter Steve Brown, who is also a wheelchair user, how versatile our Wheelyboats are, and how they give disabled users the same opportunities as able-bodied people. I’m delighted that our latest model of Wheelyboat which is also our 200th Wheelyboat will be based in Anglesey, as it will open so many more doors to disabled users in this area than ever before.”

Jon Gamon, chief instructor of SEAS at Conway Centre, said: “The arrival of the Coulam Wheelyboat V17 will mark an enormous leap forward in the capability of the SEAS group to deliver inclusive activities. Not only will this vessel enable our disabled volunteers to take a more integral role in the delivery of sessions, but it will also allow new activities such as paddle sports and fishing to be tried – something we’re very excited about.”

Sport Wales, Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust and the Hedley Foundation provided the funding for the new Wheelyboat.

To find out more about The Wheelyboat Trust, visit www.wheelyboats.org.