Thorney Island sailing club launches 150th Wheelyboat

THE LAUNCH of a brand new wheelchair accessible Wheelyboat, to provide disabled people with independent access to the water has taken place.

Members of Thorney Island sailing club, associated organisations and trustees turned out in full force to mark the official launch of John Q Davis RM, launched by guest of honour Geoff Holt, MBE.

The boat was named by Valerie Davis, in memory of her late husband and former Chichester Harbourmaster, Lt Col John Quintin Davis, OBE, Royal Marines, who died suddenly while out sailing with Valerie in August, 2010.

“My husband’s vision was that the Chichester Harbour is for the enjoyment of everyone and this allows it to be enjoyed,” said Valerie.

“It was an amazing evening and very well supported, lots of people were there from all the different areas of John’s life.”

The project was a joint venture between Thorney Island’s Army Welfare Service, Thorney Island Sailing Club and The Wheelyboat Trust, a charity based in Petworth.

Army personnel

Ian McCoy, support officer at Thorney Island Army Welfare Service began the project 18 months ago and said: “We are really quite excited, it’s a fantastic opportunity for army personal and their families and others to get out onto Chichester Harbour.”

The Wheelyboat will benefit the island’s army families, the school, injured and disabled service personnel, disabled children and adults, support the Sailing Club and the community.

The John Q Davis RM will be used for conservation work, nature watching, harbour tours, fishing and as a support vessel for the Sailing Club.

The boat was the 150th Wheelyboat supplied by The Wheelyboat Trust since it began charity work in 1985.

“It was very nice for the Wheelyboat Trust to be involved in a local project, it all went extremely well”, said Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust.

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