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An uplifting experience for Collingwood Naval Officer

13 January 2017
Lieutenant Alice Brindley, who is based at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, celebrated New Year in a rewarding way when she embarked on a Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) voyage around the Canary Islands.

Alice joined the STS Lord Nelson crew in Gran Canaria as part of a joint initiative with Welbeck Defence Sixth-Form College, which she attended between 2006 and 2008.

Together with fellow ex-Welbexian and double Paralympic gold medallist Pamela Relph MBE, they were invited on the voyage to mentor a group of 12 Welbeck students aged between 16-18 who were undertaking the College’s Leadership at Sea programme.

The JST offers sailing experiences to people from the ages of 16-99 of all abilities and experience, it integrates able-bodied and disabled, military and civilian personnel, empowering each individual to focus on what they can achieve rather than on what they cannot.  

Wellbeck College prepares students for engineering and technical positions within the Armed Forces or MOD civil service, and with their programme focusing on Diversity and Inclusion, the link with the JST was established.

During the New Year voyage the students were given the opportunity to experience the challenges faced by disabled sailors, for example, undertaking watches while visually impaired.

This unique experience led to valuable discussions of how they felt coping with impairment and helped them to develop a greater understanding and awareness of these issues.

It was great to learn the similarities and differences between Tall Ships and the RN, meet such a variety of people and mentor Welbeck students

Lieutenant Alice Brindley RN, based at HMS Collingwood

For Alice, who is currently working in the Weapons Engineering Training Group at HMS Collingwood, this was her first experience of sailing with the JST.

She said, “It was great to learn the similarities and differences between Tall Ships and the RN, meet such a variety of people and mentor Welbeck students.” 

Although there was a permanent professional crew on board for the week-long voyage, the volunteer crew undertook all the on board tasks including sitting night watches, climbing the mast, setting sails and hauling on the ropes.

There was also time to explore remote coastlines and jump overboard to swim in the ocean making friends and breaking down social barriers.

Captain Chris Phillips (Lieutenant RNR) said of the voyage, “The Jubilee Sailing Trust has for many years been involved with the rehabilitation of injured servicemen, the recent voyage with a group of students from Welbeck Defence Sixth-Form College mixed with a group of serving personnel and veterans has taken the relationship a step further.  

"The Welbexians represent the future of our Armed Forces, and for them to have had the opportunity to embark on such an experience as this can only benefit them and HM Forces in general, in broadening their experience and outlook at the very beginning of their careers.”

Recent funding has meant that the JST can now offer places on similar voyages for a daily rate of £50 per person and places are available to serving or ex-Armed Forces personnel.  

Lieutenant Brindley confirmed she looked forward to sailing with the JST again and, using her experience at HMS Collingwood, mentoring younger crew members working towards a career in the Royal Navy.

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