Birthday party for sailing charity

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A CHARITY is celebrating notching up 25 years of changing young people’s lives for the better.

Ocean Youth Trust North is marking its silver anniversary by appealing to the thousands of people who have been out sailing on its yacht, the James Cook, to get in touch.

The North Shields-based yacht has been providing opportunities for personal development for young people aged 12 to 25 since it was launched on the Tyne in September 1987 by Princess Alexandra of Kent.

The 70ft ketch, purpose built for training voyages, is named after James Cook, the 18th century explorer.

Steve Lennon, general manager of the trust, said: “We estimate that in the course of the past 25 years, more than 10,000 young people have sailed on the James Cook and experienced the inspirational effects that sail training can have.

“This is a special milestone for the trust and a major achievement.

“Throughout significant changes in government funding, education and the economy, we have continued to provide life-changing opportunities for young people to join a crew and head out to sea.”

Those helped by the trust include groups of youngsters with special educational needs or visual impairment, young offenders, students, scouts and guides.

Many of the yacht’s voyages are funded by other charitable trusts or philanthropic organisations such as Rotary International.

The trust is appealing to people who have sailed on the James Cook since 1987 to contact it to share memories, photographs and recollections of how their voyages changed their lives.

It has created a gallery of pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/oyt-north/
sets/721576307 26481130 and would like people to log on and see if they recognise themselves or their friends.

Later this year, a second home for the James Cook will be opened in Middlesbrough.

The yellow yacht is skippered by Grace Metcalfe and is normally moored at the Royal Quays Marina.

Grace said: “2012 is a big year for Ocean Youth Trust North. Not only is this anniversary a special celebration, but we are now able to expand our operation even further into Teesside and North Yorkshire.”

Visit www.sailjamescook.com to find out more about the trust or how to share your memories.