The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in Largs has a new Operations Manager, with James Hall appointed to help support more young people from across the UK to rebuild their confidence after cancer.

By the end of this year, almost 1,000 young people in recovery from cancer will have sailed from Largs with the Trust since 2013.

James, who leaves the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland in Greenock, will co-ordinate and manage the Trust’s operational activities in Scotland and the north of England from its Largs Marina base.

Launched by the round-the-world yachtswoman in 2003, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that supports young people aged 8-24 to build confidence after cancer.

When treatment ends the Trust’s work begins because for many young people picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn’t possible.

Through sailing and other UK-wide adventure trips, coordinated from Largs and the Trust’s HQ in Cowes, young people gain confidence by making friends with others who have been through similar, rediscovering independence away from home, learning new skills and, most importantly, stop feeling like they are the ‘only one’.

James, 28, will oversee two different sailing programmes from Largs – four-day trips for young people sailing with the Trust for the first time and longer cruising trips on the Firth of Clyde for those returning for a second time or more.

James said: “As young people who are already going through ups and downs, after a cancer diagnosis has hit them, it’s incredibly important to get them back trusting themselves and trusting their body.

“Going out on a boat is a great way to do that because they see what they are capable of, and have a good time while they’re doing it.

"I don’t think it can be underestimated how beneficial that is."

This year will see around another 200 young people take to the waters of the Clyde with the Trust, including many who were treated at Scottish hospitals in Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

James started sailing at Youth Afloat activity centre, near his childhood home in Redditch, Worcestershire. After gaining his MCA/RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Commercially Endorsed) certificate, he worked in the Mediterranean for Sunsail. He went on to work as a Cruising Instructor for the British Offshore Sailing School in Southampton.

James officially takes over from Kerry McMillian, who has been at the Largs helm for five years, in September.

Frank Fletcher, Trust CEO, said: “We welcome James as we thank Kerry for the incredible contribution she has made to growing both the number of young people supported from Largs and awareness of the Trust across the northern half of the UK.

“There were some outstanding candidates to replace her, but James stood out for his enthusiasm, professionalism and obvious desire to make a difference to the lives of even more young people who are in recovery from cancer.”

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