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Round the Island Race's 90th anniversary call-out to raise '90 in 90’

Author: Jo Bowden   Date: 18:30 Friday 14 May 2021

Dame Ellen MacArthur is calling on Round the Island Race sailors to inspire young people to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer while celebrating the race's 90th anniversary by racing to raise '90 in 90' as her charity prepares to set sail again in 2021.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is once again the official charity of this year's Round the Island Race and you can help change hundreds of young lives by fundraising for the Trust through taking part in the race.

Young people are set to be back on the water with the Trust this year after COVID saw all their 2020 sailing and outdoor activities cancelled. And to celebrate this, and the race's 90th anniversary, the Trust is inviting entrants to raise at least £90 - either individually or as boats - by encouraging family and friends to sponsor you in this year's race.

Since becoming the official Round the Island Race charity in 2005, an incredible £299,266 has been raised for the Trust, making a huge difference to hundreds of young lives. Now, by going to and setting up your fundraising page or donating you will get the charity past the magic £300,000 milestone!

Dame Ellen said: "Round the Island Race have been incredible Trust supporters over the past 16 years and I have so many great memories from the race and the crews of young people who have sailed with us in it over the years.

"My favourite recollection was finishing the race after quite a windy one. We all met up on the dock after finishing, and everyone was absolutely stoked. It was a really special feeling to have all shared something, which at that time felt truly monumental."

Young people need support more than ever as COVID has massively amplified the isolation, loneliness and anxiety they have experienced. That is why the Trust is so excited to be looking ahead to a summer of supporting them in-person again, on regional Taste of the Trust sailing and outdoor activity days and five-day cruising and residential trips.

Round the Island Race on 3rd July, run by the Island Sailing Club, will kick-start the Trust's 2021 season, marking the first time the charity has sailed since September 2019. The race will be a 'test event' for all the extra COVID safety measures the Trust will employ on this summer's trips. The test crew will include volunteers who were supported as young people living through and beyond cancer.

Mark Stevens, who underwent three years' intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in his early 20s, is one of those volunteers.

He said: "Having initially sailed with the Trust 11 years ago as a young person and every season since as a volunteer, I am as excited as ever about the prospect of getting back on the water. The race fully embodies the Trust's spirit and purpose and is the perfect event for our first activity of the season. It gives us the chance to test all our additional safety procedures in a real-life scenario, whilst enjoying the challenging racing and camaraderie."

There have been some amazing memories created since the Trust first took part in the race in 2005. One of the most poignant is that of Dan Monk, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia aged 15 in 2002.

He explains: "My favourite Round the Island memory is skippering in the race for the first time in 2015. I honestly believe sailing and the Round the Island Race saved my life. Two days before I was due to sail with the Trust in the 2005 race, I discovered I had relapsed and needed a bone marrow transplant. When I was in hospital the thought of being back sailing in the next year's race was what kept me going. To then be skippering for the Trust in the race exactly 10 years after my relapse made it a very emotional day for me."

For more information visit or follow @emctrust across social media.

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