Bill Sharples says:

Parkinson’s disease somehow always seems to strike at people who live active lives.  Before I was diagnosed with the condition, I loved playing golf, hill walking in the Lake District and, more than anything, riding motorbikes.  I was – and still am – a big fan of the annual Isle of Man TT motorcycle race.  I am also a licensed radio ‘ham’ and chat regularly with people all around the world.

I was at a coffee morning for people with Parkinson’s disease when someone told me about Cowes Sailability Club, and it sounded right up my street.  I loved being on the sea and often booked round trips to Southampton on the car ferry, just for the pleasure of the journey.  In fact, I would keep my eyes open for bad weather and deliberately pick rough crossings, so that I could experience the roll of the vessel on the waves.  But, I had never been on a sailing boat in my life, and, with my deteriorating balance, I didn’t think it would be possible.

The volunteers at Cowes Sailability Club were incredibly welcoming and before I knew it I was sailing and boating regularly, along with my sister Eileen.  A few years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Round the Island Race on board a sailing boat specially adapted for people with disabilities.  It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

Over the years, I’ve learned that being a member of Cowes Sailability Club isn’t just about taking trips on the water; it’s about meeting new people and being part of a tremendous group of friends.  I would encourage anyone to come along.  Whatever condition or disability you have, you can’t give in to it.  You have to live as active a life as you possibly can, and Cowes Sailability Club can help you do this.

Bill Sharples