Sail Aid UK raising funds to help rebuild hurricane-torn Caribbean islands

Sail Aid UK raising funds to help rebuild hurricane-torn Caribbean islands

Sail Aid UK is uniting the UK sailing industry, pro and amateur sailors, racers and cruisers, to help victims of the 2017 Caribbean hurricanes.

By Peta Stuart-Hunt - 31/01/2018

On 8th September 2017, within 48 hours of Hurricane Irma wreaking her devastation across the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, five individuals in the UK, each with strong ties to the Caribbean and working in yachting and related businesses, combined forces to form Sail Aid UK.

The original Founders Liz Lotz, Philippe Falle, Simon Boulding, Katie Walker and Peta Stuart-Hunt, have since been joined by Tara Smyth. Each of us brings to bear our own relevant experience in most if not all areas needing to be addressed to deliver this campaign efficiently over the longer term. Between us we have covered off the legal and logistical know-how to set up Sail Aid UK as a charity, mounted a hard-hitting international awareness and fundraising social media and PR campaign, and organised a Gala Black Tie/Loud Shirt Fundraising Dinner at Land Rover BAR in Portsmouth for 200 people on 11th November last year…and all organised within two months!

As a group we are fortunate in having the relevant contacts in the right places to make big things happen, fast. Our Facebook page served us well as our main promotional platform until such time as our website was launched in mid-October. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we approached anyone and everyone who we thought might be able to help us achieve it, no holes barred!

So many people have been equally moved and motivated to help after seeing the footage and images showing the horrific scale of the destruction suffered in the Islands and so have given up their time without question in support of the cause, either offering marketing support (e.g. the website designed, built and hosted by Jeremy Pocock and Sailing Club Manager) or indeed for the Dinner.

Sail Aid UK is indebted to its Fundraising Dinner Sponsors, Land Rover BAR, Opihr Gin and Westerhall Rums. The video producers Red Handed TV, sailor and broadcaster Hannah White and the auctioneer supremo Nick Bonham all generously shared their time and individual talents for the benefit of our dinner guests on the night. Major auction and raffle prizes were sought and found and with an audience made up of many of the best-known figures from the world of sailing and the yachting industry, we raised just over £50,000 in one amazing evening.

The funds raised to date are being targeted at, but not limited to, regeneration projects being funded by the Anguilla Sailing Association, One Love BVI and other grant applications are now being considered by the Trustees who are liaising with contacts on the ground in the Caribbean, including at Sint Maarten Yacht Club, to ensure that monies are used for the most appropriate projects once the most urgent need for immediate humanitarian aid support has been reduced. Sail Aid UK was set up to specifically provide a carefully managed and carefully targeted platform from which to unite the UK sailing community in fundraising to help regenerate, restore and rebuild communities. It is without doubt already making great strides towards achieving its long-term objectives and everyone is in it for the long haul - there is no quick fix.

Meanwhile, the group has been incredibly active, populating its website and Action Stations Funding Channel, mounting a PR and social media I’m in! #sailaiduk campaign and organising the first of its major fundraising initiatives. The charity’s first AGM was held a couple of weeks ago and plans are afoot for more exciting fundraising events during 2018. Many well-known names and faces have lent their support including Sir Ben and Lady Georgie Ainslie, Mike Golding, Dee Caffari, Alex Thomson, Shirley Robertson, Conrad Humphreys, Brian Thompson, Iain Percy, TV personality Nick Knowles, all joining in our ‘I’m in! #sailaiduk’ social media campaign to raise awareness of our launch. https://www.sailaiduk.com/page/friends-of-sail-aid-uk

Visit www.sailaiduk.com to read the news, watch the highlights video, enjoy the SAUK anthem by Asher Otto and, crucially, please join the campaign, buy a t-shirt or two and make a donation. Thank you! #sailaiduk

Sail Aid UK, a charity registered in England and Wales. Registered charity number 20171115 | Sail Aid UK is registered in England and Wales at 2 Ellachie Road, Alverstoke, Hampshire, PO12 2DP.

Image: Attached. Credit: Christopher Ison

Photo Caption: Sail Aid UK Trustees promote their cause at the Fundraising Dinner last November L-R: Simon Boulding, (Front) Liz Lotz, (Back) Tara Smyth, Peta Stuart-Hunt, Philippe Falle, Katie Walker.


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