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Injured Veterans And Cadets Sailing Around Britain Arrive Into Belfast

A group of injured veterans and cadets have arrived in Belfast as part of a challenge to visit every capital city in the UK.

A group of injured veterans and cadets have arrived in Belfast as part of a challenge to visit every capital city in the UK.

The 'Lord Dannatt's Round Britain Challenge' was set up by the former Head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Over 40 days, 96 cadets and 48 veterans will sail a specially adapted tall ship around the UK.

The tour began in London before stopping over in Edinburgh, then Belfast and Cardiff before returning to London.

Veterans And Cadets Sailing Around Britain Arrive Into Belfast
For each leg of the journey, the crew is changed, meaning 12 injured service personnel work on the ship alongside 24 cadets and instructors.

Sue Warner, a veteran of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, said: "I think I'm going to take away that the impossible can be possible and that recovery, even though it's a slow process, it is possible to keep working forwards. 

"It was just a joy and a privilege just to go up the mast... and I know they really supported me in that. 

"It was just fantastic actually. So that was a wonderful achievement to be able to do that."

After arriving in Belfast, the veterans and cadets handed over a quarter of a wooden shield that will be completed next month when the ship arrives in London.

Reflecting on the ten days spent on board, Corporal Jack Lord, an Army Cadet said: "Obviously it's sad, saying goodbye to everyone but I wouldn't mind getting back into a real bed, to be honest. 

"So that kind of surpasses all the sadness!"

Corporal Ethan Renshaw, an Army Cadet, said: "The friendships that you find here are definitely going to last. 

"Some of the people that I've spoken to here, I'm definitely closer to."

So far, the challenge has raised more than £11,000 which will go towards life-changing adventures for the Army Cadet Force with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

Royal Navy Veteran David Pigg said:

"That's the first time I've had a full night's sleep for ten years without nightmares.

"So I was sad to leave the ship with that, because I know I'll get bad sleep again but the kids, they did grow on you quite a lot." 

In each capital, events will be held to remember the 100 year anniversary since the end of the First World War.

The journey between each city is 10 days, with crew taking on activities such as climbing the mast, helming the ship and setting the sails.

Forces News reporter Ali Gibson was on board the ship on the River Thames in London before it arrived in Edinburgh to speak to the JST Chief Executive Duncan Souster:

"They're organised into four, what we call watches - teams of 10 and together that watch will be on duties at various points during the day and the ship runs 24/7," Mr Souster said.

"They might get made to go on duty at two or four in the morning and when they're on watch, they'll be responsible for navigating, helming the ship, keeping look out.   

"At other points of the day they'll be given other activities like setting sails, cooking for their crewmates, even cleaning the ship.   

"[In the watch] a younger person will be buddied up with one of the veterans and that immediately fosters teamwork as they'll be given tasks together."