BACK in 2005 Dame Ellen MacArthur became the fastest woman and youngest person to sail around the world single-handedly.
But now she is turning her attention to giving youngsters in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.
And Stratford teen Toby Butterworth was among a group of lucky eight to 18 year olds chosen to take part in in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
The 16-year-old, who is still on maintenance treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, recently joined the crew of one of five yachts to sail around the Solent as part of a four day yacht adventure.
Onboard 42ft cruising yachts, the trip provides an opportunity for young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment while encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.
Departing from the south coast HQ in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight, the 30-strong group of teens navigated the waters of the Solent before cruising back into Cowes.
Speaking about his experience, Toby admitted he didn’t know what to expect before coming on the trip.
He said: “It has given me more confidence to talk about what I’ve been through and I would now try to get involved in more things like this.
“It’s been really good meeting people who have had similar treatments to myself and it’s nice talking to people who actually know what I’ve been through. I’d love to come again.”
Dame Ellen, who tries to spend at least one day with every four-day trip over the summer, added: “The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness.
“Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”
Visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org for further information.