RS Sailing
Premier Way, Abbey Park
Romsey Hampshire SO51 9DQ
01794 526760
RS Sailing
Premier Way, Abbey Park
Romsey Hampshire SO51 9DQ
01794 526760

Sailing against the wind

May 23, 2020
RS Tera World Championships 2021

Courageous Teenager wins first-ever Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero Award

14-year-old Will Sears, from Bournemouth, is a remarkable teenager who has challenged the status quo and taken part in sailing championships across the world despite his disability, competing in the same class as athletes without his medical condition.  He is winner of the first-ever Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero Award 2020, nominated by Christchurch Rotary Club in Dorset.

Will has been a keen sailor since the age of 10 but last April, he suffered a haemorrhagic stroke. He was diagnosed with Cavernous Malformations in his brain, two of which had haemorrhaged and as a result, now has epilepsy.  Suddenly his world was turned upside down.

Before his stroke, he had a place to sail on the national and international circuit.  He was devastated to be told by medical professionals that his sailing was over.

Determined not to let his disability define him, he was resolute in taking his place at both the RS Tera National Championships in Essex and World Championships in Sweden.  Will’s mother Cherie said that was: “No easy task!  There’s no sailing for young people with epilepsy/brain injury generally and there certainly isn’t competitive sailing.  Will first had to convince the National Sailing Committee he was able and safe before tackling the world organisation.”

With the help of his Roald Dahl Specialist Epilepsy Nurse and his sailing club, the National Committee agreed to allow him to compete under strict conditions. There wasn’t, and still isn’t, any dispensation for disability in the Championships, so Will went and sailed as an equal with his peers.

The Nationals wasn’t without difficulty, he suffered a seizure on the water and was medically retired for one of the 2 days.  Determined as ever, he went back out on the water, achieving 5th place in the Regatta Fleet.  The RS National Association awarded him the Class Trophy for his endeavour and determination.

As for the World Championships, this was only agreed at the last minute after negotiations between the International Association, the UK sailing and medical team.  When he arrived however, he was surprised to have been selected to be the UK Squad flag bearer and he proudly paraded at the opening event.

Again, there is no recognition for disability in junior competitive sailing and therefore Will had no dispensation or special handicap.  He started well but on the 2nd race of day 2, he had a seizure and was medically retired for the rest of that day and following day.  Determined not to let his disability win, he returned to the water on the final day and managed some epic sailing, bringing his final score back up to 44th in the world.

Will’s determination did not stop there. He returned to Sea Scouts and has been able to continue to sail and to teach young Scouts to sail as an Assistant Coach.

He is also fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is receiving treatment and is due to undergo surgery and the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity who provided him with his Roald Dahl Specialist Epilepsy Nurse Katrina Bottle and Will featured in the charity’s Nurses’ Appeal ad campaign illuminated on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus launched on International Nurses’ Day last week.

Will won’t let his disability define him, preferring to highlight the cause and show how you can succeed through adversity.  By his example, and by the precedents he has set, he has opened the doors for many other young people suffering from epilepsy and similar conditions.

Will said: “I’ve won the Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero Award and I’m the first person to win it, which makes me feel extremely happy.   I’d like to thank Twynham School and Christchurch Rotary for nominating me and well done to all the other Rotary Young Citizen Award winners and the other nominees. I’m really happy that I’ve won this Award and everything it’s given to me.”

Will added: “I challenge the norm because I want other people with brain injuries and epilepsy to be able to take part in sailing and not to feel left out.“

He will receive a trophy, certificate and £300 to go towards his chosen project or charity from Rotary in Britain and Ireland.  The Rotary Young Citizen Awards Presentation had been due to take place at the UK’s first-ever Volunteer Expo, organised by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland at the NEC in Birmingham this month but the event has been postponed until May 2021 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Rotary in Britain and Ireland President Donna Wallbank said: “Will is a teenager who shows that with determination and effort anything and everything is possible and it is a tribute to those who have undertaken this journey with Will that he continues to compete as an equal despite his disability.   Will, as the first winner of the Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero Award, is a testimony to what this Award is about.”

 

Rotary Young Citizen Awards

The Rotary Young Citizen Awards were started in 2007 to celebrate the amazing achievements of inspirational young people across Great Britain and Ireland, many of whom have assumed important responsibilities at a very young age. Find out about the other inspirational Rotary Young Citizen Award 2020 Winners at www.rotarygbi.org.

SUBSCRIBE

  • Sign up for RS stories, offers, epic wipeout videos and much more!

RS21 in Action

First-time RS21 charterer and UK National Champion 2022 will join the RS21 World Championship

Hugh Watson had never sailed the RS21 until the UK National Championships at the RS Games 2022. Then his team only went and won it! We couldn’t miss the opportunity to learn more about his...

RS Feva Mk2 – Introductory launch offer for members of the UK RS Feva Class Association

Following the launch of the new MK2 RS Feva at the Southampton International Boat Show, RS Sailing are proud to announce an exclusive introductory launch offer for members of the UK RS Feva Class...
RS Venture Connect Regatta

Team Norway to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship

As part of World Sailing’s reinstatement bid for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games, they aim to: Increase worldwide participation to 45 nations on six continents Increase youth participation...
RS Aero Dutch Nationals

Dutch RS Aero National & Class Championships – Aquavitesse, Bruinisse, Netherlands, 10/11th September

by Arwin Bos   Another great weekend for the 2022 Dutch National Championship RS Aero 7 and Class Championship RS Aero 5. In total 29 RS Aero sailors joined from The Netherlands, Belgium,...

Genoa International Boat Show 2022

We look forward to attending the Genoa International Boat Show 2022 from Thursday, 22nd September to Tuesday, 27th September. In partnership with Negrinautica, RS Sailing will be showcasing the RS...
RS Venture Connect

Team Australia to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman

The Barcelo Resort in Mussanah, Oman will host the RS Venture Connect World Championships from November 24th -27th. It is expected that teams from 15 nations will compete in this event, the first...

Team Portugal to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship hosted by Oman Sail

We caught up with Guillherme and Pedro, who will participate in the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman. We wanted to learn more about their sailing background, how they got...

The Resolute Cup

The New York Yacht Club’s Resolute Cup has begun! Considered one of the most prestigious amateur regattas in the world, teams from each of North America’s top sailing clubs compete for the highly...

The Mk2 RS Feva

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Mk2 RS Feva.   As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers and our desire to ensure the best possible experience with our boats, we are...

The Resolute Cup

Known as one of the most elite amateur events in the country, the Resolute Cup attracts the best of the best to New York Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first Resolute Cup was held in 2010...

RS Feva Mk2 – Introductory launch offer for members of the UK RS Feva Class Association

Following the launch of the new MK2 RS Feva at the Southampton International Boat Show, RS Sailing are proud to announce an exclusive introductory launch offer for members of the UK RS Feva Class...
RS Venture Connect Regatta

Team Norway to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship

As part of World Sailing’s reinstatement bid for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games, they aim to: Increase worldwide participation to 45 nations on six continents Increase youth participation...
RS Aero Dutch Nationals

Dutch RS Aero National & Class Championships – Aquavitesse, Bruinisse, Netherlands, 10/11th September

by Arwin Bos   Another great weekend for the 2022 Dutch National Championship RS Aero 7 and Class Championship RS Aero 5. In total 29 RS Aero sailors joined from The Netherlands, Belgium,...

Genoa International Boat Show 2022

We look forward to attending the Genoa International Boat Show 2022 from Thursday, 22nd September to Tuesday, 27th September. In partnership with Negrinautica, RS Sailing will be showcasing the RS...
RS Venture Connect

Team Australia to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman

The Barcelo Resort in Mussanah, Oman will host the RS Venture Connect World Championships from November 24th -27th. It is expected that teams from 15 nations will compete in this event, the first...

Team Portugal to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship hosted by Oman Sail

We caught up with Guillherme and Pedro, who will participate in the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman. We wanted to learn more about their sailing background, how they got...

The Resolute Cup

The New York Yacht Club’s Resolute Cup has begun! Considered one of the most prestigious amateur regattas in the world, teams from each of North America’s top sailing clubs compete for the highly...

The Mk2 RS Feva

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Mk2 RS Feva.   As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers and our desire to ensure the best possible experience with our boats, we are...

The Resolute Cup

Known as one of the most elite amateur events in the country, the Resolute Cup attracts the best of the best to New York Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first Resolute Cup was held in 2010...

UK Club & Centres – Sails & Covers Pre-Order Offer 2022

Every year we offer a winter pre-order sail and cover deal to all our UK RS Sailors Club members. This year we would like to offer it to our UK Training & Fleet customers. This would mean that...
RS Venture Connect Regatta

Team Norway to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship

As part of World Sailing’s reinstatement bid for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games, they aim to: Increase worldwide participation to 45 nations on six continents Increase youth participation...
RS Aero Dutch Nationals

Dutch RS Aero National & Class Championships – Aquavitesse, Bruinisse, Netherlands, 10/11th September

by Arwin Bos   Another great weekend for the 2022 Dutch National Championship RS Aero 7 and Class Championship RS Aero 5. In total 29 RS Aero sailors joined from The Netherlands, Belgium,...

Genoa International Boat Show 2022

We look forward to attending the Genoa International Boat Show 2022 from Thursday, 22nd September to Tuesday, 27th September. In partnership with Negrinautica, RS Sailing will be showcasing the RS...
RS Venture Connect

Team Australia to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman

The Barcelo Resort in Mussanah, Oman will host the RS Venture Connect World Championships from November 24th -27th. It is expected that teams from 15 nations will compete in this event, the first...

Team Portugal to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship hosted by Oman Sail

We caught up with Guillherme and Pedro, who will participate in the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman. We wanted to learn more about their sailing background, how they got...

The Resolute Cup

The New York Yacht Club’s Resolute Cup has begun! Considered one of the most prestigious amateur regattas in the world, teams from each of North America’s top sailing clubs compete for the highly...

The Mk2 RS Feva

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Mk2 RS Feva.   As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers and our desire to ensure the best possible experience with our boats, we are...

The Resolute Cup

Known as one of the most elite amateur events in the country, the Resolute Cup attracts the best of the best to New York Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first Resolute Cup was held in 2010...

UK Club & Centres – Sails & Covers Pre-Order Offer 2022

Every year we offer a winter pre-order sail and cover deal to all our UK RS Sailors Club members. This year we would like to offer it to our UK Training & Fleet customers. This would mean that...

The RS Games 2022

From the 21st of July through to the 5th of August, RS Sailing held the third quadrennial RS Games hosted by Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. RS Sailing has evolved from a heritage...
RS Aero Dutch Nationals

Dutch RS Aero National & Class Championships – Aquavitesse, Bruinisse, Netherlands, 10/11th September

by Arwin Bos   Another great weekend for the 2022 Dutch National Championship RS Aero 7 and Class Championship RS Aero 5. In total 29 RS Aero sailors joined from The Netherlands, Belgium,...

Genoa International Boat Show 2022

We look forward to attending the Genoa International Boat Show 2022 from Thursday, 22nd September to Tuesday, 27th September. In partnership with Negrinautica, RS Sailing will be showcasing the RS...
RS Venture Connect

Team Australia to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman

The Barcelo Resort in Mussanah, Oman will host the RS Venture Connect World Championships from November 24th -27th. It is expected that teams from 15 nations will compete in this event, the first...

Team Portugal to join the RS Venture Connect World Championship hosted by Oman Sail

We caught up with Guillherme and Pedro, who will participate in the RS Venture Connect World Championship this November in Oman. We wanted to learn more about their sailing background, how they got...

The Resolute Cup

The New York Yacht Club’s Resolute Cup has begun! Considered one of the most prestigious amateur regattas in the world, teams from each of North America’s top sailing clubs compete for the highly...

The Mk2 RS Feva

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Mk2 RS Feva.   As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers and our desire to ensure the best possible experience with our boats, we are...

The Resolute Cup

Known as one of the most elite amateur events in the country, the Resolute Cup attracts the best of the best to New York Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first Resolute Cup was held in 2010...

UK Club & Centres – Sails & Covers Pre-Order Offer 2022

Every year we offer a winter pre-order sail and cover deal to all our UK RS Sailors Club members. This year we would like to offer it to our UK Training & Fleet customers. This would mean that...

The RS Games 2022

From the 21st of July through to the 5th of August, RS Sailing held the third quadrennial RS Games hosted by Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. RS Sailing has evolved from a heritage...

Team France to join the inaugural RS Venture Connect World Championships in Oman

Olivier Ducruix and Ange Margaron will be representing France in the RS Venture Connect World Championships this November 2022, hosted by Oman Sail. Ange and Olivier met in Corsica, September 2021...

Pin It on Pinterest