Dame Ellen sails in

ROUND the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur dropped anchor in Ipswich as she and a youthful crew stopped off on a leg of an impressive journey.

Tom Potter

ROUND the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur dropped anchor in Ipswich as she and a youthful crew stopped off on a leg of an impressive journey.

Dame Ellen had time to officially open the new Fox's Chandlery & Outdoor superstore when she arrived with the team of seafaring teens taking part in the Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain Voyage.

The tour sees youngsters who are recovering from cancer and leukaemia sail a 48 foot yacht around Britain on a four month voyage, stopping at 17 docks including Fox's Marina.


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Dame Ellen stressed the importance of having fun along the way and rebuilding the confidence of those onboard.

“This is all about them enjoying themselves and feeling like they are part of a voyage,” said Dame Ellen, who has accompanied the crew on 16 of the journey's 17 legs.

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“This isn't their first time sailing with us so they know what to expect. Each one of them has come with us on a four day trip to talk about what they have been through and be around other people who understand.

“Not only have they had to deal with a serious illness, they have also lost confidence. This is all about building that confidence back up.

“They are travelling with a qualified skipper and are able to feel part of a team. It's a challenge for them but they're here to have fun.”

Onboard the yacht yesterday was 17-year-old Larvell Gisby, who joined the crew of seven for the journey between Ipswich and Hull. Larvell, who is studying for a national diploma in IT, was treated for cancer in his home city of Nottingham. He said: “When you're out there on the sea you forget everything and leave all your troubles behind. Sailing is a good hobby to take up.”

Dame Ellen had time to cut the ribbon and officially open Fox's new-look 16,000 sq ft superstore.

Fox's chairman, Richard Matthews, commented: “Our aim is to be the best stocked chandlery in the country. We are expanding the range of quality brands we hold and want our customers to know that no matter what they are looking for they can be sure they will find it here.”

You can follow the progress of the round Britain voyage online at www.roundbritain.org where an interactive tracking map will update the boat's position. You can also show your support for the Trust by donating �10 and 'buying a mile' through the website or by calling 0870 0636774.

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