Cornish youngster Bradley Pedrick (age 11) who sails at Polkerris Beach, St. Austell, went up against other young sailors from around the country to win The Panerai Challenger Trophy in London last weekend. The trophy is an initiative from Italian luxury watchmaker Panerai and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) designed to promote the many positive benefits which getting out onto the water can bring to young people’s lives. It recognises an outstanding young person between the ages of 8 – 18 years who has embraced the power of sailing or windsurfing to achieve a personal triumph to inspire us all. The finalists have all overcome physical, economic or social challenges to achieve a significant milestone within sailing or windsurfing.
As well as winning the stunning Trophy, designed and produced by the highly acclaimed Simon Hasan, and inspired by the craft of classic boat building, Bradley will also receive a grant of £5,000 to continue to develop his sailing, whilst the training centre will also receive a grant of up to £10,000 to further support junior sailors or windsurfers.
Bradley started sailing at Polkerris Beach just a year ago when he started sailing with Foxhole Learning Academy supported by the Roseland Youth Sailing Trust. Bradley threw himself into the sport, despite having a lot to contend with. As a three-year-old, he had his leg amputated below the knee due to a rare condition; at just seven, he had to have kidney surgery and then, shortly afterwards, he suffered serious burns in an accident. In addition, he has undergone revision surgeries on his leg, which will continue until he is fully grown. He has nevertheless learned not just to sail, but to put on a wetsuit over his prosthetic leg, carry his own kit down the beach and work with, and help, others. As you can imagine we didnt think twice about nominating him for the award,
According to Bradley’s mum, Cheryl, sailing has given him focus, and much more: “He’s the kind of boy who wants to be active all the time and he has lots of energy. He just gets on with it – he’s amazing how he adapts to things and has a positive attitude to everything. It’s given him a huge focus and it’s helped him to be calm and focused in school too, knowing that he has sailing to look forward to.”
Winning the grant is life changing for Bradley. It will enable him to have one-to-one sailing sessions which combined with his regular attendance at his sailing club, will help him to build on his passion for sailing and develop his talent.
Cheryl said: “He hasn’t stopped bouncing off the walls! Visiting London for the trophy presentation and going on a classic yacht on the Thames was an incredible experience for Bradley . As I’m a single mum and he has five siblings, the trip was also a rare chance for him to have individual time with me, as well as enjoying an extremely exciting day.”
All of the instructors at Polkerris, his teachers and classmates at school are all over the moon! Matt Oakley, Headmaster at Foxhole Learning Academy, says he is blown away by the news: “For Bradley, this will be life changing and we feel privileged that the children at the School can experience sailing as an activity and as an experience that will certainly help them to develop broader skills in the future”. At Polkerris we’re incredibly proud of Bradley, he has the most fantastic attitude and is a true inspiration. We are very much look forward to supporting his future athletic and sailing ambitions.
It’s true that many are increasingly recognising the positive benefits that learning in the outdoor environment has on children's long term health and well-being, as well as their self confidence, understanding of themselves and the extent to which they believe they have influence over events in their lives. With Cornwall's beautiful coastline and staggering 4500 charities and community groups in the county it’s no surprise that a number of Cornish based charities are leading the way in championing outdoor learning to improve and change children's lives. Key charities include the Wave Project, the award-winning surf therapy and beach school project, the Coastal Crusaders headed up by professional big wave surfer Tom Butler, as well as the Roseland Youth Sailing Trust who support young people to access sailing and windsurfing through their schools programme. This summer, the programme is helping over 450 children in Cornwall to get out on the water and learn to sail, alongside developing the other life skills that the experience brings. Dina Croft, Trustee at the Sailing Trust, commented “We love our schools sailing program which is not just about sailing but harnessing the positive benefits that watersports can bring to a young person’s life and Bradley winning this award celebrates that”.
For more information about learning to Sail at Polkerris Beach go https://polkerrisbeach.com/activities/learn-to-sail/