Derbyshire takeover on the Irish Sea

Derbyshire takeover on the Irish Sea

It is a Derbyshire takeover as four young people from the county, all in recovery from cancer, are enjoying the sailing experience of a lifetime taking part in the latest leg of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's epic four-month Round Britain 2017 challenge.

Staveley's Molly Baker-Hunt, 14 and 12-year-old Isobel Lewis from New Mills, have joined the eight-strong crew aboard the Trust's voyage yacht, Moonspray, for the 100-nautical mile Leg 15 adventure from Holyhead to Liverpool this week, as part of an extraordinary 2,400-mile sailing relay around Britain to celebrate recovery, achievement and potential.

Meanwhile, Belper's Hannah Spencer and Tom Roberts from Ripley, both 24, have been part of the full-time Round Britain crew since Moonspray set off from the Trust's Northern base in Largs, Scotland in May. Hannah is First Mate and Tom is the On Board Reporter and both will have already sailed some 2,000 nautical miles by the time they arrive in Liverpool. Tom and Hannah first sailed with the Trust in 2010 and neither has looked back since.

Tom said: "I sometimes struggle to articulate how important the Trust is to me as it had such a strong effect on my life and I want to ensure that others continue to benefit from the Trust the same way I have."

Launched by the history-making yachtswoman in 2003, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that rebuilds confidence after cancer and uses sailing to support, empower and inspire young people aged 8-24 in embracing their future with optimism.

Between May and September over 100 young people, who have all sailed with the Trust following cancer treatment, are taking part in Round Britain 2017. Up to five different young people are joining the crew for each leg, while some of the full-time crew, including Tom and Hannah, have also been through treatment and benefited from Trust support.

Tom finished treatment for Ewing Sarcoma in his spine at the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham in 2008, while Hannah was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2009 and had a bone marrow transplant in 2011.

Molly first sailed with the Trust in 2012 after treatment for Wilms Tumour (kidney cancer) at Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust in 2011.

She said: "I'd like to help other young people know that even if you have an illness like cancer it doesn't mean you have to stop having fun. On Trust trips it's easier to talk to new people as you share similar experiences and stories and I like working as part of a team and making new friends. I'm looking forward to the new experiences Round Britain will bring."

Moonspray will depart Holyhead in Anglesey today (Tuesday 5 September) and head to Conwy for an overnight stop. With a scheduled arrival in Liverpool Marina on Thursday, a visit to the BBC studios with Pudsey and a sail on up to the Albert Docks on Friday, the young crew have a lot to look forward to this week.

This year the Trust will work with almost 600 young people in recovery from cancer. But for every young person they currently support, there are nine they cannot. Yet.

Isobel enjoyed her first Trust trip in 2014 after treatment as a young child for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

She added: "I love the Trust because you learn about sailing and have a really good time while meeting people, which gives me confidence and happiness. Round Britain will be a bit more 'all hands on deck' as well as a chance to make new friends."

Isobel and Molly, along with two of the other young crew, will leave Moonspray on Saturday 9 September as three more young people join Tom and Hannah for Leg 16, the 180-nautical mile sail across the Irish Sea to Belfast. Round Britain 2017 finishes back where it started in Largs on 23 September.

Through the campaign #tell9people and by sharing the stories of the young people taking part, Round Britain 2017 aims to raise awareness of the Trust's work both publicly and within the hospitals and medical support networks around the country, many of which the young people will be visiting during the voyage.

You can support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's campaign and follow Round Britain 2017 via the Trust's social media channels and on the live voyage tracker at

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