16-year-old Esme joins inspirational yacht trip

Esme Macintyre and Ellen McArthur
Esme Macintyre and Ellen McArthur

RECORD-breaking sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur is used to being seen as a role model — but recently she met an inspiration of her own in Kinross teenager Esme Macintyre.

Esme (16) enjoyed the experience of a lifetime when she took part in a four-day yacht adventure off the Isle of Wight with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

The trust aims to inspire young people who are recovering from cancer or leukaemia including Esme, who has battled courageously against a type of brain tumour known as medulloblastoma.

Her treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow finished in December 2007.

She was one of 17 participants from across the UK who took charge of four cruising yachts in and around the Solent waters last week, getting the chance to do everything from helming the boat to cooking.

Esme, who was joined by three other young people on her boat Moonspary, said: “The trip was great, I really enjoyed it.

“I have been sailing a few times before but never on a trip like this! I really enjoyed meeting Ellen MacArthur and her dog Norman on the last night.

“Everyone was so friendly and I made some great friends.”

Dame Ellen 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.”

The trust was launched by Dame Ellen in 2003 and gives young people in recovery from cancer or leukaemia the chance to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment.

Esme’s group set sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, with the young people spending four nights sleeping on board the boats.

On the final day the group were joined by Dame Ellen and enjoyed a barbecue and an evening on the beach playing games.

More information in the trust is available online at http://www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org