A group of Sail Training Ambassadors – local youngsters who will participate in, and are helping to promote, the Tall Ships Race – have met Sunderland’s mayor, Councillor Alan Emerson.
The Sail Training Ambassadors are tasked with getting other young people involved in events surrounding the Tall Ships Race, which will start from Sunderland in 2018.
There are opportunities available for young people – and people of any age – to actually sail on the ships or to volunteer to help in other ways.
Many of the Sail Training Ambassadors are supported by local businesses and other local organisations.
The Sail Training Ambassadors are undergoing a challenging but enjoyable two-year programme that involves learning about sailing and participating in various nautical and cultural activities. Their programme will include taking part in the first leg of the Tall Ships Race 2018 from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark.
At the meeting, Cllr Emerson explained to the group what his duties as mayor involve and encouraged the ambassadors to take great pride in their role as representatives of Sunderland.
Cllr Emerson said, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to meet young people from our city and beyond and I’ve really enjoyed meeting the group.”
“As mayor of Sunderland, I am very proud to represent a city with both a rich cultural heritage, and ambitious, exciting plans for the future. These plans, of course, include the Tall Ships Race in Sunderland 2018.”
“I wholeheartedly encourage all of the ambassadors to make the most of this wonderful opportunity and wish each of them the greatest of good fortune in their upcoming adventures.”
Sail Training Ambassador Lauren Williams, 16, who is sponsored by the Sunderland Youth Parliament, said, “It was great to meet Councillor Emerson and learn a little more about the role of the mayor of a city.”
“He spoke with great pride about being able to represent his city at a variety of functions and of the opportunities he has had to meet a wide range of people from across Sunderland.”
“Our role is to help young people to find out more about sail training and encourage them to take part in the Tall Ships Race 2018. Sailing can be for everybody and I hope many people from across the city make the most of this fantastic opportunity to take part in this iconic event.”
After their meeting with the mayor, the group attended a presentation and question and answer session on Sunderland’s history.
Sail Training Ambassador Don Brooks, 16, who is sponsored by the crane manufacturer Liebherr, said, “It was fascinating to hear about the early formation of Sunderland and to hear tales of so many characters down through the ages.”
“It really brought to life some of the conditions and developments across the city. It certainly provided some food for thought about places we perhaps now take for granted.”
The Tall Ships Race 2018 is due to start in Sunderland before taking in Esbjerg then Stavanger, Norway. It will finish at Harlingen in the Netherlands.
The ships’ crews will come from many countries and the race rules stipulate that 50% of each crew’s members must be aged between 15 and 25.
Sunderland will be welcoming around 80 ships. When in port, many ships will allow visitors aboard, and there will be events, receptions and corporate hospitality opportunities on some of the vessels.