'Amazing' Sophie-Louise sails with Dame Ellen MacArthur

PUBLISHED: 10:58 19 July 2011

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A TEENAGER from Weston escaped memories of her brain tumour ordeal with a once-in-a-lifetime trip supported by round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Sophie-Louise Andrew, aged 13, was among a group of 24 young people from around the country to enjoy a four-day sailing adventure with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

All 24 are recovering from cancer and leukaemia, and spent last week sailing Solent waters off the Isle of Wight.

Sophie-Louise, who was treated at Bristol Children’s Hospital for a brain tumour in 2008, said her trip with the trust – which aims to inspire recovery through adventure – had been a ‘unique’ experience.

She said: “I was meant to join one of the trust trips last year but I was too ill to come. I remember being really disappointed but I am so glad I came this year.

“It is an experience of a lifetime, I couldn’t pick a best bit, I loved it all.

“It is so unique and I would tell anyone who wasn’t sure to go on one of these trips.

“I am going to keep in touch with everyone, I have made some great friends this week.”

Sophie was joined on her 48ft boat, Outreach, by four other youngsters, and experienced working in a team during a thrilling four-day voyage.

The crew even slept on board the vessel, but enjoyed a number of stopover ports and culminated in a beach barbecue and sports on the beach at the Isle of Wight.

Dame Ellen, who in 2005 broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, paid tribute to the spirit of the young sailors.

She said: “These children are truly amazing. They face experiences that no child should ever have to go through, and yet they do it with the biggest smile on their faces - they are truly inspiring.”

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