Launch of the Peter Harrison Foundation

The man in the middle of the swirl of America's Cup rumours gives away £30 million to disability sport

Tuesday October 31st 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The day after the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, Peter Harrison launched his eponymous charity foundation for disabled sport. The Peter Harrison Foundation will use an endowment of £30 million to aid disabled and disadvantaged people through sport, education and small grants. The Foundation will give away an estimated £1.5 million per year to both national and local projects.
The launch was at St Katherine's Dock, with the presentation of a cheque for £250,000, which HRH The Princess Royal accepted on behalf of RYA Sailability. RYA Sailability is a charity which creates opportunities for disabled sailors within Britain, and has helped the British Paralympic Sailing Team that competed in Sydney. The Princess Royal is the patron. The launch was also attended by young disabled sailors, who had the opportunity to display their boats to HRH the Princess Royal, Peter Harrison - and Olympic medallists Ian Walker, Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy.

RYA Sailability is hoping to use the grant to ensure the necessary standards of safety, training and to provide access facilities and special craft for disabled sailors at 72 clubs across the country by the end of next year. Geoff Holt, Chair of RYA Sailability thanked the benefactor for his donation. "We are delighted to be selected by the Peter Harrison Foundation to receive this generous grant. Peter and his fellow trustees are fully conversant with our plans to help disabled people gain access to facilities around the country so that we can all enjoy the wonderful experience of sailing, whatever our background."

On launching the Foundation, Peter Harrison explained one of the reasons for his donation. "I believe that sport provides a focus for skills development and confidence building. No matter how demanding the stress and strain of building the business, I have always found time to take part in sport, from football and rugby to yachting, hence this is one of the main programmes. Sport has certainly helped me to achieve in life and now I want to share some of my success with those less fortunate than myself."

Ian Walker, double Olympic Silver Medallist, commented, "It's wonderful that Sailability is receiving the financial backing it deserves, as it helps so many people get involved in sailing who wouldn't otherwise be able to."

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