IT INSPIRES injured servicemen through sailing and helps them get their lives back.
Now Gosport-based charity Toe in the Water has received a huge boost with a £15,000 cheque from the outgoing mayor of Fareham, Brian Bayford.
Titchfield’s world record-breaking sailor Dee Caffari, who is an ambassador for the charity, was thrilled to accept the cheque on its behalf.
‘It’s really nice and it’s great to see the charity raise its profile in the local area with the connections that we have with the water and the military,’ she said.
‘I feel pretty privileged that I have some first-hand experience of competitive sailing with these guys.
‘It’s probably one of the most rewarding things I do. When you see it first-hand and you sail with them, you want to do more.
‘It’s so enjoyable. It’s not a hardship at all.’
Cllr Bayford, whose year as mayor for Fareham Borough Council comes to an end this week, said: ‘I used to be in the army so I wanted one of my charities to be related to the military.
‘If you have been in the services you realise that these fellas are in a team and then suddenly something happens to them.
‘Through this they learn to sail but they also learn to get back into team work.
‘They get reinspired.’
Chris Herbert, 23, lost his right leg while serving in Iraq in 2007 and was one of the first servicemen to get involved with the charity.
‘It’s had a massive effect on me,’ he said. ‘It brought me back down to earth. I just fell in love with it and decided that I wanted to sail.’
He said the donation to the charity will make a big difference.
‘It’s a phenomenal amount of money,’ he said.
‘We completely rely on sponsors, we have no government funding. We are massively grateful. It will get put to good use, we need that sort of money.’