NEVILLE started volunteering for Tall Ships Youth Trust in 2014 shortly after retiring. He wanted to share his passion for sailing and his experience as a dinghy instructor while having adventures on a 72ft yacht! Little did he know what challenges lay in store for him.

Neville had no prior experience of working with young people and in particular with youngsters from complex and challenging backgrounds. He quickly realised he had a lot to learn!

He came home exhausted after his first voyage and took to his bed. He’d had a tough time and was definitely out of his comfort zone! However, he was undeterred and decided to sign up for more.

Gradually learning more about the young people and the tough hand some had been dealt in life, he became less judgemental and could often see a spark of potential worth developing. He often said, ‘if you can just get them on their own away from the taunts of others you can get through to them’. He gained tremendous satisfaction from helping just one youngster develop some self confidence or skill, even if others had been returned to shore.

It was not all hard work, he loved the fun challenges set for the youngsters, especially the treasure hunt to find the kitschiest knick-knack in the port.

Neville was full of admiration for the work Tall Ships Youth Trust does to help disadvantaged and disabled youngsters and was always full of praise for the skilful skippers achieving camaraderie onboard.

He was grateful for the opportunity he was given to expand his own mindset and gain not only enjoyment but a sense of fulfilment in his retirement.

Christine Robson  

Carol Freeman