Able2Do Anything: Achievements

Quadriplegic adventurer sets sail on challenge to circumnavigate the UK

Geoff Holt steering a boat

After months of planning and preparation, quadriplegic adventurer Geoff Holt MBE DL set sail from St Katherine’s Dock, London on Monday in a record breaking first of its kind challenge. 

The journey will see Geoff and his team circumnavigate the UK coastline over the next 4-6 weeks, calling at 17 accessible ports across the country with a goal of raising £1.2m for registered charity, Wetwheels Foundation via the team's Just Giving page

Funds raised from the challenge will allow for four new Wetwheels boats, offering life-changing experiences to over 5,000 of the most profoundly disabled people each year, and will be Geoff’s final disability adventure. 

Geoff has dedicated his life to providing access to the sea for disabled people, demonstrating that there are no limits to what we can achieve regardless of physical capability. 

The Challenge: 

Geoff undertakes his final adventure in a disability accessible Wetwheels boat, making 17 key stops to inspire and fundraise for more Wetwheels boats. The route is estimated to take him 4-6 weeks and he will have a small support team following the journey. 

The team will head west along the South Coast, calling in at ports to help raise awareness of his adventure. He will also take time to call in at the eight current Wetwheels locations that are responsible for delivering thousands of boat trips around the UK each year to disabled people. 

Scheduled visits: 

  • London
  • Dover
  • Portsmouth
  • Torbay
  • Falmouth
  • Newlyn (refuel only)
  • Milford Haven
  • Holyhead
  • Bangor
  • Oban
  • Tobermory (refuel only)
  • Ullapool
  • Scrabster
  • Peterhead
  • Edinburgh
  • North Shields
  • Whitby
  • Grimsby
  • Lowestoft
  • Chatham
  • London

Commenting on his final Wetwheels challenge, Goeff Holt MBE DL said: “Today is the start of the next chapter in my life and possibly my biggest challenge to date. Having spent 40 years in a wheelchair, paralysed from the chest down, the sea has been my salvation, the freedom and independence I get when I am afloat, I can forget about my disability. I have devoted most of my life to promoting the opportunities and benefits sailing offers disabled people and now this is my opportunity to spread that message throughout the United Kingdom. 

“I am very honoured that the Lord Mayor of London himself, Michael Manielli, has taken time out of his busy schedule to officially start the challenge, and where better, than Tower Bridge in our capital city of London. I am really looking forward to the next few weeks although I am very much aware of the challenges ahead, not least the physical and mental impact on myself on the boat for up to 8 hours a day but also the massive logistical challenge for our shore team as we travel around the UK. 

“My biggest hope is we can inspire more disabled people to join us for an experience on Wetwheels. Hopefully this will also inspire people to raise money to achieve my dream of acquiring another four Wetwheels boats, making a total of 12 around the UK. 

“The 1,500 mile journey will be a test for not only my physical endurance but also a mental challenge as I juggle the logistics of navigating through some of the most dangerous and congested waters in the world. 

“Only when I cross the finish line back in London and we hit our fundraising targets, will I allow myself to relax. Hopefully, by demonstrating that a quadriplegic, 40 years paralysed from the chest down, still has the ability to achieve his dreams will inspire more disabled people to find out about Wetwheels and support the amazing work we do.”

The Lord Mayor of London, Michael Mainelli, joined Geoff and his team as they set off from St. Katharine’s Dock today and commented: “I’m delighted to see Geoff and his team set off on this remarkable challenge for an inspiring cause in which my mayoral theme Connect to Prosper Experiment Series will play a part. Throughout the journey, Geoff and the team will be sampling and collecting microplastics along the UK coastline as part of the Suzuki Clean Ocean Project. 

As one of the greatest threats to our oceans and marine wildlife which is worth more than $1.5tn to world economies per year, it’s integral that the City of London is at the forefront of tackling the challenge of microplastics and providing a hub for thought leaders to connect. Wetwheels' work at the forefront of scientific advances that drive improvements of our environment while meeting its incredible objective of opening the water for those who otherwise are unable to access it, is an inspiration to us all.”

Geoff will be raising money for the Wetwheels Foundation, a registered charity whose patron is HRH The Princess Royal. The charity offers unique opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages - including those with multiple, profound and complex impairments - to access the water in custom boats designed specifically for wheelchair access. Guests are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship alongside peers, friends and families.

Currently Geoff has amassed a fleet of eight vessels around the UK and aims to add another four as a result of this challenge and continue to reach an additional 5,000 disabled people each year.

[ You can find more information about Geoff Holt on his official website. ]

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