Visit to East (East Anglian Sailing Trust)
Saturday 25th August 2012
by Sasha Hedges


It was an early 8.30 am start for Hope and me as we had to be at EAST by just after 10am! We were both excited and had missed the Olympic Flame when it came to Lowestoft so we couldn’t wait to see what the day had in store for us.



We arrived at about 10am and were greeted by staff at EAST. What struck me most was that they were all so friendly.

eastvistAs we walked into the reception area there was the Olympic Flame. Hope got to have her picture taken, holding the flame! Just by looking at her face I could see that she was thinking inside “I am actually getting to hold the flame, this is so incredible!” The Torch Bearer told us about the flame design and that the holes in the torch represented everyone that had held a flame on the run/journey to the stadium. He was incredibly proud to have been picked to hold the torch and he “definitely won’t be selling it as it is something that he could pass down to his children!”


After a cup of tea we were asked to don lifejackets and followed the others down to the boat. When we came to the ‘jetty’ seemed to be suspended in the sky and we were told that it moved up and down with the tide; how amazing is that! It was scary for Hope as it was quite steep but with guidance from one of the helpers she managed okay.  Steve came down in his wheelchair with a rope attached and he said that this was much better than last time as he whizzed down the jetty and fell out of his wheelchair at the bottom! These guys amaze me with their wit and general attitude to life and their positivity rubs off.


On the boat, at last with Hope and Steve and two members of the EAST team, we sped out of the harbour attached to a speedboat, making sure not to hit any of the very expensive boats in the process!


Out on the open estuary is nothing like the calm waters of the Broads. I was a little scared as the boat heeled but we were in good hands and Steve, Hope and I were all laughing as the salt was spraying up in our faces. Steve was strapped into his comfy armchair and even he admitted to it being a bit hairy. You can see from some of the pictures that they were both having a wonderful time. Hope and Steve both took the tiller and steered us through the water, not on a very straight course but as safely as they could manage. They both said how different it was from the ‘joystick’ that they were used to.


Back on dry land we were treated to the most amazing lunch and waited in anticipation for the torch. It came via wheelchair – there were speeches and a great atmosphere of warmth and pride being part of such an occasion. Such a wonderful day.


Hope and I have only been here for a year and Sailability is the most magical place to be. We are both doing some brilliant things and meeting the most amazing and inspirational people which has changed our lives for the better. I think Pat summed it up the other day when she said to me “If you could bottle what we have at Sailability and spread it around the world then the world would be a much better place”.






Come along and join us....