RYA Southern Sailor to carry the Olympic torch through London

Fellow members at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club were delighted to hear that Stuart Boreham has been chosen by the President of the Athens 2004 Olympic Committee as one of 40 elite athletes to carry the Olympic torch through London on 26 June 2004.

As a child, it was soon apparent that Stuart had difficulties with his legs – cerebral palsy had left him spastic in his lower limbs – but what he lacks in physical strength he has more than made up for in willpower, tenacity and determination to succeed.

It was at school the opportunity first came along to try out dinghy sailing and his love of the sport continued into adult life. Recuperating from an operation Stuart, still wheelchair-bound, decided to watch the return of the Global Challenge fleet in Southampton. A chance encounter with Sir Chay Blyth fired his imagination and he was soon part of the “Time and Tide” round the world entry in 1996/97, a team comprised entirely of disabled people or those who had overcome life threatening illness. He has continued sailing, sometimes as part of a crew, sometimes alone on a Mini Transat yacht.

Stuart’s latest triumph in 2004 was to row alone across the Atlantic, 3,341 miles from the Canaries to Barbados, all in aid of charity. Sir Richard Branson was amongst the first to congratulate him on this epic achievement. Stuart hopes his example will inspire others whether disabled or not to do something with their lives: “That doesn’t have to be sailing a yacht across an ocean, or doing a long row. It could be gaining the confidence to paint a picture. The lesson I have learned is that an achievement in any walk of life is about self belief.”