Dame Ellen awards Kerry Gruson the 2008 Liz Earle Ladies Day Trophy at Skandia Cowes Week


The Liz Earle Ladies Day Trophy, to celebrate the achievements and contribution of women in sailing is now in its third year. At a special prizegiving ceremony yesterday evening in Cowes, Dame Ellen MacArthur presented the award to Kerry Gruson.

Kerry was the first disabled woman helm to compete at Skandia Cowes Week. Her condition, termed Anoxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain after being strangled by a Vietnam veteran), has left her with paralysis in the legs and arms requiring her to use a wheelchair for mobility on land. While sailing a boat, Kerry uses a specially designed seat that provides the trunk stability necessary to sail in various wind conditions.

Competing in her third Skandia Cowes Week this year, Kerry continues her focus on overcoming her own disabilities and the additional element of recovery from cancer. She is a living illustration of joy and courage in sailing – a highly deserving winner.

The four others shortlisted were Louise Morton, Sam Davies, Hilary Lister and Katie Miller.