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Charity’s Flame Festival for Games
OLYMPIC torch bearer Charlie Rogers, 16, from Ashley Heath was in the spotlight again at a special event organised by New Forest and District Sailability at Blashford Lakes near Ringwood.
The Flame Festival was attended by 60 members of the club, which offers disabled people the chance to sail, to pay tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012.
Charlie, who ran through Bournemouth with the torch in July, set sail on a boat with his torch to greet the cheering crowd at the pontoon.
The torch was used to light the mini cauldron, from which an original Welsh miner’s lamp was lit. The lamp will burn throughout the Paralympics.
Sailability chairman Eric Blyth said: “We held this event to pay tribute to the wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012.
“The event has been wonderful. The feel good factor is still buzzing and we felt that we wanted to do something to honour it.
“I firmly believe that the Olympics in Britain will leave a legacy that will last a lifetime.
“My wife Sheila, who isn’t a big sports fan, has been glued to the television for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and I think many people have been taken by surprise at their own enthusiasm for the Games.
“They are absolutely wonderful.”
Sailability, which is affiliated to the Royal Yachting Association, was launched in 2000 and has grown over the past decade – expanding its fleet and increasing its volunteers from five to 89.
Ten years ago just three sailors ventured out on the water for weekly, two-hour sessions. Now the club boasts 227 sailors, who sail for two, six-hour sessions twice a week with a third, weekly race training session.
But Mr Blyth explained that the club, which provides dinghy sailing for disabled people of all ages and abilities, still needed volunteers.
He said: “As always we need more volunteers to help people sail. If we get more people to help then we can purchase another boat, enabling more people to sail.”
To volunteer, sail or help with funding, ring Eric Blyth on 023 8086 7438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit one of the group’s sessions at the Spinnaker Sailing Club, Ivy Lane, Ringwood.