The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which runs sailing trips for children and young people who have, or have had, cancer has reserved two places for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust in 2018. CHECT Champion Ernie Brown, 10, who has taken part in two trips, tells us what it’s like…

I have been away with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust two times now. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Before I went away with them for the first time I felt really excited and a bit nervous. I felt extremely nervous about meeting new people. We went on a bus and I was picked up in Cambridge, as I got on the bus I felt like everyone was very friendly and I thought ‘this is going to be fun’.

We were dropped off in Southampton after a lengthy drive, we then got on a Red Jet Ferry to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We then had an ice cream and went to see the boats, our new homes for the next four nights.

I was put on a yacht called Morning Dew with three other boys my age, we had a skipper named Dan. It was nice because all the other boys and Dan had all had cancer as well. For the next few days we had a lot of fun while learning to sail.

Making a splash

One morning we all got dressed in our waterproof storm gear and crept out of the harbour. We waited around the corner to ambush the other Ellen MacArthur Trust yachts with our high powered water pistols, which Dan had kept a secret until then. It was so fun as we all got soaking wet and then went inside to dry off afterwards.

We had other experiences such as a rib ride, a guided tour around a lifeboat, going shopping in a town, and a beach barbecue where we got to meet Ellen MacArthur while she judged the pudding competition between the different boats. We also got to meet Ellen MacArthur’s dog Norman.

At the end I felt sad to leave, because we were all having so much fun and I’d made really good friends who we’d only meet up with once a year. But I knew I’d see them again.

Second time around

The following year I went away for my second time, however this was a very different trip. This time there was one yacht called Moonspray touring around the whole of the UK to raise awareness of the charity. To do this they split the tour into sections and each team had a section to complete. I was lucky enough to be selected for this trip along with Dom who I had sailed with before. We sailed from Harwich to London with our team which I named the Divine Nine as it was the ninth leg of the journey.

On the way we passed many different things in the North Sea such as enormous container ships, and a massive wind turbine farm. It was my 10th birthday as we sailed through the Thames Barrier and I had a really special birthday.

When we stopped in London we went to the Science Museum, Tower Bridge, I went on Sky News and Dom got to open the stock exchange. We finished by sailing under Tower Bridge and the bridge opened for us, which was an amazing experience.

This year I have been invited to sail again and I am going back to the Isle of Wight for the South Coast Cruise trip with Dom and Ollie from my first trip.

Overall I have really enjoyed my experience with the Ellen MacArthur Trust, and I would recommend it to anyone.

About EMCT

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a charity that rebuilds confidence after cancer, using sailing to support, empower and inspire young people aged between 8-24.

In 2000 Dame Ellen MacArthur DBE sailed with a French charity for children with cancer and leukaemia. Inspired by the incredible impact sailing had on the children, Ellen launched the trust in 2003. Since then more than 1,550 young people have taken part in over 190 sailing trips.

Get involved

If you or your child would like to take part in one of EMCT’s sailing trips, please speak to your support worker, Lesley Geen or Julia Morris, or call us on 020 7377 5578.