Navy volunteers have a whale of a time
In glorious Cornish sunshine 15 Navy trainees from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston set about lending a hand during a special Charity Surfing competition at Newquay’s Fistral Beach.
“Surf Challenge for Autism 2013”, is the surf charity `Wave Projects’ annual event challenge and involved 32 autistic competitors across a weekend of fantastic sunshine on Britain’s most famous surf ing beach, which also attracted over 1500 spectators. Top level surfers included former UK champion Russell Winter and 2012 English national champion Hannah Harding, who were left speechless as they watched the competitors impress on clean 3 ft waves.
Pro surfer Hannah Harding commented: “People watching just couldn’t believe that these competitors had a disability. They were surfing to such a high standard; it was really great to watch!”
The Navy Volunteers made up over a third of all volunteers, one of whom was TV’s ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Andy Jordan. The Officers and Ratings assisted the young competitors in and out of the water and were on hand to support them as safety swimmers through the rollers and breakers. The Wave Project is a charity from Cornwall that specialises in helping to improve the emotional wellbeing of young people through surfing. `Surf Challenge for Autism’ is held annually and this year the weather was certainly on side!
“It was just amazing that so many people came to support this event and ensure these young people with autism had their chance to shine,” said Joe Taylor the contest organiser. “It’s wonderful to see so much goodwill from local people, organisations and businesses.”
Surf Volunteer and trainee Observer Sub Lieutenant Max White added, “The great thing about serving in the Navy is that life is so varied. One moment we’re training for our future roles, which will see us deployed around the globe, the next we’re helping out at a very worthwhile event closer to home.”
As well as helping a local charity, it proved to be a valuable experience for both the Young Officers from 750 Naval Air Squadron and the rating trainees whilst they continue this phase of their training. In a few short months, these Officers will be expected to take charge of their own team of men and women: leading them on an Operational Fleet Air Arm Unit.