Sailor Geoff’s county honour

Geoff Holt
Geoff Holt
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DISABLED sailor and Portsmouth hero Geoff Holt is among four new Deputy Lieutenants of Hampshire.

They were inaugurated at a ceremony held at the Great Hall in Winchester.

They will assist by Dame Mary Fagan – the current Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire – in representing the Queen on public duties.

Deputy Lieutenants have to be approved by the Queen and there are currently 50 in Hampshire – a number allocated depending on a county’s population.

Mr Holt, 46, of Shedfield, was nominated to receive the honour by Dame Mary because of his ongoing charity work.

Mr Holt raises awareness for disabilities and fundraises for charity.

He said: ‘Dame Mary clearly thinks that I’m a good representative of the county.

‘I’m very honoured and flattered that she would think that. I’m very proud.’

He has met Dame Mary many times at various charity events.

Mr Holt said: ‘She’s always been incredibly supportive of my charity work.

‘She’s the most wonderful person.

‘She is a hard-working lady and an excellent ambassador for local charities.’

Mr Holt was a professional yachtsman when he was paralysed in 1984, aged 18, in a swimming accident.

He became the first paraplegic sailor to sail around Britain and to cross the Atlantic.

One of his main projects is Wetwheels, a specially adapted sea fishing boat based at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.

Wetwheels can hold up to 10 people and three wheelchairs. It allows disabled people to experience marine life.

Mr Holt said: ‘My work continues weekly at Wetwheels. I donate the boat, the captain donates his time and local companies donate the money for petrol. It’s a really special set up.’

Also inaugurated as Deputy Lieutenants of Hampshire were Peter Andreae, from Alton, Ingrid Carding from Hook, and Alan Lovell, from Bishop’s Waltham.

Deputy Lieutenants are unpaid, serve until the age of 75 and are entitled to put the letters DL after their name.