Crew members

The Chris Ellis award

2013 winners

The winner of the 2013 Chris Ellis award for the best piece of written or artwork based on a voyage with OYT South was was Ellesha Meadow Sams, aged 14, and the runner-up was Liam Portrey, aged 16.

Ellesha came to us from the XL Group from Sherborne Learning Centre for young people who are unable to attend full-time mainstream school, and who are at risk of exclusion, both academic and social. Ellesha's winning entry was a collage of pictures including the following account of her voyage:

“I was completely dreading going on the John Laing, I didn’t know what to expect, I never thought about sailing on a boat, I always thought it wouldn’t be my thing, not many kids like me get a chance to go sailing for two nights. After a while I started to like the idea and I was excited about going but I wasn’t too sure what the crew was going to be like, or the boat. I was so worried that everything would go wrong and it would be my fault and everyone would shout at me.

I truly can’t put into words how much I enjoyed myself, I will never forget it. The crew were amazing, they were so welcoming and they didn’t shout they explained and it was quite easy once they explained. Even though it was two nights it was like a massive family. At dinner we would squish up round the table and we would all be laughing and talking. We worked together to get everything done. My best part was steering the boat, on the way back it was absolutely chucking down with rain. I wasn’t fussed I was enjoying steering the boat too much.

I learnt so much about sailing and about myself. I feel so much happier since I came off the boat, my confidence is so much better and I don’t worry far as much as I used to about doing activities outside of school with people I hardly know. When I left it was hard I just wanted to stay, I was so close to crying. I would love to come back and do another trip but for next time longer, time goes quickly when you’re enjoying yourself. I couldn’t thank everyone enough for giving me such a brilliant memory, I will always remember.”

Liam's runner-up entry can be seen here.

See here for more information on the Chris Ellis Award.
















“I have thoroughly exhausted myself with lots of hard work and laughter.” Paul