Owner of Portsmouth powerboat foundation clinches disabled entrepreneur of the year award

From left, 'Leonard Cheshire Disability chief executive Clare Pelham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People 'Justin Tomlinson MP, 'Geoff Holt MBE, and 'Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou''''''Picture: David Cotter

From left, 'Leonard Cheshire Disability chief executive Clare Pelham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People 'Justin Tomlinson MP, 'Geoff Holt MBE, and 'Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou''''''Picture: David Cotter

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HE has transformed the lives of thousands of disabled people by giving them a taste of life on the water.

Now selfless Geoff Holt has been given an honour in recognition of his efforts.

I am genuinely very flattered and honoured to have won the award

Geoff Holt, owner of Wet Wheels Foundation, in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth

The 40-year-old has won a disabled entrepreneur of the year award supported through Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Geoff, of Wallington, was honoured as he runs Wet Wheels Foundation in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, which takes disabled people of all ages out on powerboats to enrich their lives.

The organisation gives about 1,500 participants the opportunity every year.

He said: ‘I’m genuinely flattered and honoured to have won the award.

‘I was up against some very stiff competition.

‘What it means to me personally is it’s a testament, it recognises the business model that I have put together.

‘Sometimes you do things on your own and no-one recognises you, and you just hope you are doing the right thing.

‘To be recognised, especially by the Stelios Foundation, is very rewarding.’

Mr Holt, who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984, now intends to use his £50,000 prize to give more people the chance to experience the sea.

A fundraiser and a development manager will be recruited to help bolster funds and attract more interest.

Mr Holt, an ex-professional yachtsman, became the first disabled sailor to sail single-handedly around Britain.

He was the first disabled sailor to cross the Atlantic Ocean unassisted, achieving this remarkable feat in 2010.

Mr Holt, who received his prize at a ceremony in London, said: ‘I set up Wet Wheels because I wanted to get more disabled people out on the water.

‘There are a lot of really good organisations that take people sailing, and sailing is lovely.

‘But there are a lot of disabled people who don’t go out on the water because they don’t like sailing or can’t get on a sailing boat.

‘That’s why I decided to set up this powerboat organisation.’

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