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It was ‘All Onboard’ for Crawley Mariners Junior Helm Week

The 2019 OnBoard Junior Helm Week at Crawley Mariners saw 65 young sailors take to Hedgecourt Lake near Felbridge for lots of fun and sailing in all different wind conditions.



The week in July was entirely run by volunteers, and marks one of the highlights in the calendar for young Crawley Mariners.

Daniela Campbell from the club says:

“As usual, Hedgecourt Lake served up a variety of wind and weather conditions meaning there was plenty of opportunity for capsizing. Our sailors dealt with all of these conditions brilliantly. If you have not seen it yet, you should come and have a look how quickly Topper sailors can get back into their boats after a capsize.”

This year included a trip up an imaginary African river for Oppie dinghy sailors, to see what creatures were hiding there. For the Topper sailors raft building was on the agenda. Anything from upwind sailing and mark rounding to the ever-popular whistle game was included in the programme.

Daniela adds:

“A big thank you goes to the large number of volunteers who have helped to make the week a success: organisers, instructors, safety boat crews, galley staff, registration and everyone who has lent a hand. This would not be possible without you.

“We are all looking forward to the next edition of Junior Helm Week in 2020!”

Run by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres. 

RYA OnBoard centres offer low cost sessions designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.

Crawley Mariners in an RYA OnBoard Centre, an RYA Recognised Training Centre, and a British Youth Sailing Recognised Club.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit


Crawley-based Thales add their support to national campaign to find RAF veterans in need

Crawley-based Thales in the UK have given their backing to a national campaign to find RAF veterans in need. Second World War pilot George Dunn DFC spoke to staff earlier this week and explained why the RAF Benevolent Fund’s appeal is so important.



George Dunn DFC

Ninety-seven-year-old George, who lives near Brighton, told Thales employees about his wartime service, flying with Bomber Command having signed up to the RAF at the tender age of 17. George described one of the most famous operations he took part in – the raid on Peenemunde, which destroyed the Nazis V Bomber capability.

George was joined by RAF Benevolent Fund Ambassadors Bob Greig and Rob Bugden, who are both also RAF veterans. They were representing the charity, which Thales has been a generous supporter of, to ask staff to join its centenary campaign to help RAF veterans.

Bob, who lives in Woking, explained:

“The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched this campaign to mark 100 years of support it has already given to the RAF Family, serving and retired personnel and their families. We’re aiming to double the number of people who receive help, from 53,000 people to 100,000 people and to do that we need the help of companies like Thales in the UK.

“If you know anyone who served in the RAF who may be in need, urge them to get in touch with the RAF Benevolent Fund. They have been there for me in my darkest hour and ever since, and all RAF personnel should know that comfort.” 

Thales in the UK has been a long-term supporter of the Fund, having donated more than £100,000 to date, and also have a representative, Malcolm Crayford, on the Fund’s Centenary Campaign Advisory Board, who commented;

“Over the last 100 years, Thales has enjoyed a long heritage of supporting the Royal Air Force; we have also supported the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Today, Thales is proud to be supporting a new campaign from the RAF Benevolent Fund to get Royal Air Force veterans in need back on the radar.”

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