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Young Northern Ireland Sailors Awarded Funding by Mary Peters Trust

6th January 2021
Lauren McDowell (helm) and Erin McIlwaine in the 29er training at Newcastle Co Down are among the Mary Peters Trust awardees Lauren McDowell (helm) and Erin McIlwaine in the 29er training at Newcastle Co Down are among the Mary Peters Trust awardees

Five young sailors have been given a unique chance to boost their training and skills after they were awarded funding from the Mary Peters Trust.

The Trust aims to help aspiring young athletes, whatever their sport or social background, to realise their maximum potential by assisting them in both a financial and advisory capacity. We help young people, both disabled and able-bodied, achieve their sporting dreams and ambitions.

The five are Lauren McDowell, (29er) associated with Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough where she also helped instruct the young Pirate section; Erin McElwaine from Newcastle Yacht Club who is crew for Lauren McDowell; Dan McGaughey, from Donaghadee SC on the North Down coast, who won the 2018 Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year award for his performance internationally in the Topper class; Dan Palmer (Topper) from Ballyholme Yacht Club and Tom Coulter form Coleraine YC who sails a Laser Radial.

Topper sailor Danny Palmer of Ballyholme Yacht ClubTopper sailor Danny Palmer of Ballyholme Yacht Club

They are the worthy recipients of the awards from among 70 young competitors from 20 sports to receive the funding.

Lady Mary, who won Pentathlon gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics, founded her Trust soon afterwards to aid the development of young, homegrown, sporting talent, and in the intervening years has helped many thousands to achieve their sporting goals.

Commenting on the funding awards, Lady Mary said: "Our awards are made to support and accelerate sporting careers. The Trust recognises how difficult it has been to train and compete during the pandemic, and we are delighted to continue their funding in order to provide financial assistance. For over four decades, the Trust has supported our young athletes, and they are fantastic ambassadors for our country. I am proud of all those receiving this latest round of funding for their dedication to continue in their sport during difficult times."

RYA Northern Ireland's Performance Manager, Andrew Baker, commented: "At RYA Northern Ireland, we are very proud of our talented athletes. Funding is always a key issue for aspiring athletes, and it is fantastic that the Mary Peters Trust has invested in our young sailors. This funding will make a big difference and will allow our sailors to develop their skills and continue with their training and competitions."

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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