Inverurie’s Marcus takes to the high seas

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Marcus Watt, 21, from Inverurie has recently taken part in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Marcus joined 11 other young people between the age of 18 -24 in recovery from cancer on the trip, and joined the crew of one of four yachts, that set sail from the Trust’s new base in Largs on Monday, (July 7) for a five-day yacht adventure.

For Marcus, who finished treatment in August 2013 for Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, this was his first time sailing with the Trust. Nervous yet excited about the upcoming trip. Marcus explained, “This is my first time out at sea, my friend Zoe recommended the trip and so I had to give it a good go. ”

Sailing onboard 42- 48 foot cruising yachts, the trips provide a chance for the young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.

Marcus added, “We were always active, whether it was winching or setting the sails or the silly water fights. Driving the boat was awesome but I enjoyed all the fun and games just as much.”

The trip navigated the waters of the Firth of Clyde, which took them to various stopovers including Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, before sailing on to the National Sailing Centre at Great Cumbrae for a barbecus and then back to Largs, giving the young people the opportunity to test their new skills on the water.

Launched in 2003 the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.

Marcus explained the impact of the trip, “It was nice being with people who I could easily relate to. It’s a great break from routine for anyone, it gives you a little perspective.”

This is the second year the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has run sailing trips in Scotland, having set up their Scottish base in Largs in North Ayrshire in early 2013 thanks to funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The expansion of their operation comes as part of a three-year plan to double the number of young people in recovery from cancer taken sailing

Dame Ellen MacArthur explained the importance of the base in Scotland “The fact we now have a base in Scotland so our services are easily accessible to so many more young people is a dream come true. The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness. Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”

Sailing trips are provided completely free of charge to the young people. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust does not receive funding from the Government or NHS, so is reliant on donations.