WOUNDED, injured and sick (WIS) veterans are helping to build a unique rowing boat which will be used to compete in a world championship race next year.
Participants in the project, at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, are putting together a Cornish pilot gig which will be given to a Help for Heroes team competing in the Pilot Gig World Championships on the Isles of Scilly in May 2016.
The programme brings together skill training and sport as a merged pathway to rehabilitation for WIS soldiers or veteran, and is supported by a range of military charities including BLESMA, Help for Heroes, The Soldiers’ Charity, Combat Stress and others.
Project manager Mike Selwood said: “We have managed to get together a dream team who will take until next April to build the gig. Andrew Nancarrow, one of Cornwall’s foremost gig builders, is leading the team.
“He is supported by Dan Scully, formerly on the boatbuilding staff at Falmouth marine school, and Al Henderson, a former Royal Marine, who sustained serious injuries in Afghanistan resulting in the loss of a leg. Al has become an excellent woodworker and is in many ways the inspiration for the project.
“We know some will come just for a taster day, others will want a longer term commitment and many will have ongoing medical priorities. What we can do is help everyone to try woodworking as a skill.”
Once built, the gig will be rowed, weather dependent, to the isles of Scilly in stages, fundraising for military charities along the way.
Jock Easton, general manager at Help for Heroes Plymouth, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this. Some of the participants in the project competed for Help for Heroes in the World Pilot Gig World Championships this year – brilliant for them to have a hand in building the gig they will compete in next year.”
Find out more
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall has funded the project with the help of the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant programme and the generosity of other sponsors.
If you know a WIS veteran who would like to take part, visit www.nmmc.co.uk or you can follow the gig build on Facebook.