The charity Sporting Activities for the Disabled has received a £6000 grant from the Community Foundation for Surrey which will go towards the fitting out of Impossible Dream, the Spelthorne community boat for the Thames.

Already several special schools for learning disabilities and societies for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease have enjoyed boating on the river.

Alan Woolford, chairman of Thames Sailability which operates the boat, says: “The grant will be used to install a galley, toilet, canopy and safety rails which will enable us to provide cruises in most weather conditions.  Shepperton Marina has provided a mooring with a 50% reduction of their fees.”

Through RYA Sailability over 53,000 people with a disability have been able to experience sailing and boating with approximately 15,000 becoming regular participants. Thames Sailability has obtained 2015 accreditation by RYA Sailability for boating with people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

The boat was donated by Mike Browne through Sporting Activities for the Disabled. Mike is a paraplegic sailor who crossed the Atlantic and Mediterranean in a previous boat he built, also called Impossible Dream.

Among the skippers of Impossible Dream are well know Thames boater Nic Allen,
Derek Beake who works for French Bros, Julian Horsfield an ex Met. Police boatman,
David Jillings who spent last year on the North Sea, as well as a number of other back-up qualified skippers.

Meanwhile for those who prefer sailing to boating Queen Mary Sailability, based on Queen Mary reservoir in Ashford, meets every Thursday from April to November, with morning sessions for special schools and afternoons for individuals.

The group also meets on Saturday mornings, integrated with able-bodied sailors for Saturday Club. Queen Mary Sailability possesses a large fleet of access boats, and racing and race training has become a regular activity.

For more on Impossible Dream see Facebook HERE and to book trips contact

Story dated September 21st 2015