100th milestone

Peter Irwin and David Kohler receive John Merricks Sailing Trust grant for 420 Worlds

Friday June 6th 2008, Author: Suzy Hamel, Location: United Kingdom
The John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) has made its 100th award and has now awarded over £160,000 in total to deserving individuals or community sailing projects. The 100th award was made to the 2007 420 Youth champion Peter Irwin from Scotland who will use the money to help fund his expenses to compete with his crew David Kohler in the 420 World Championship this Summer in Athens, Greece.

RYA CEO and JMST Trustee Rod Carr was delighted that the 100th award was made to someone, who like John, has won the 420 Youth Nationals. “Peter has demonstrated huge personal drive and determination to do as well as he has in sailing and like John he cannot do this without support from others. He represents exactly the type of youngsters that we aim to support. Whilst the community projects that we support do fantastic work it is always especially fun to follow the progress of individuals that we support.”

Out of the £160,000 awarded so far £60,000 has gone to individuals and £100,000 has been awarded to community projects such as club junior sailing programs. This money alone has helped to purchase over 80 dinghies or boards for youth and junior sailing and given thousands of kids access to the sport of sailing.

John’s former sailing partner and JMST Trustee Ian Walker added, “It is a tribute to the fantastic support we get from John’s friends, sailors and the marine industry in general. We always aim to have fun raising the money and it has all been raised within our sailing community. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and remembered John in a positive way”

After a very successful Tiger Trophy, Marine Industry Regatta, Tartan Trophy and Glyn Charles Pursuit Race in 2008 the next big events are: The Bugle Annual Charity Cricket Tournament in aid of the JMST on Sunday 27th July at Hamble Playing Fields, Spitfire Way, Hamble, Hampshire; and the North Sails Golf Day in aid of the JMST on Friday 24th October at Cams Hall Golf Club, Fareham, Hampshire.

Without financial support from other people, 1996 Olympic 470 Silver Medallist, John Merricks would never have been able to fulfil his ambitions and demonstrate his remarkable talent for sailing. Set up by those closest to John following his untimely death, The John Merricks Sailing Trust seeks to help other young sailors achieve their goals.

The objectives of the Trust are to advance the education and physical and mental development of young people in need (under the age of 25 years) with a view to promoting the achievement of their potential through the sport of sailing.

All awards are decided by unanimous agreement of all the Trustees, who generously donate their time to govern the Trust: Dennis Merricks - John's father with whom he started sailing in a Mirror dinghy at age 11; Ian Walker - John's 1996 Atlanta Olympics sailing partner; Camilla Bullock – a sailor herself, Camilla was John's girlfriend; Derek Clark - John and Ian's coach and close friend in the run up to the 1996 Olympics; Rod Carr - RYA Olympic Manager at the 1996 Olympics; Jim Saltonstall - Legendary youth racing coach who talent spotted John in his Mirror dinghy.

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