Teen's 10-Hour Sailing Challenge

18 May 2021

A YOUNGSTER who loves nothing more than a trip out on the water will be taking on the biggest endurance challenge of her life this month.

Ellia, aged 16, will be sailing her dinghy solo for 10 hours at Redesmere Sailing Club near Macclesfield to raise money for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.

The challenge would be a grueling test of endurance and stamina for any teenage girl, but this will be especially tough for Ellia, who has an often-painful growth condition called patella femoral dysfunction. Her condition means she frequently needs crutches to walk and she can suffer acute pain in her knees.

Ellia was diagnosed with her condition in September 2018 but has never let it hold her back and began sailing when she was just nine years old.

Ellia, who lives in Grasscroft, said: “I’ve spent a lot of time at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital over the years so I really wanted to do something to give back.

“I think 10 hours is going to be quite tough, but I’ve been practicing a lot on the water when restrictions have allowed, and I’ve also had a daily session on a rowing machine at home.

“I originally wanted to do it in 2020 so I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. I can’t wait for the big day and just hope we get the right weather – not too hot, but not too cold!”

Not only is Ellia a regular patient of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, she is also part of the hospital’s Youth Forum. This means she is one of the young people who is involved in developing health services and influencing policies and procedures. The group creates a link between senior managers and the young service users of the hospital.

All the funds Ellia raised will be sent to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity who, at Ellia’s request, will divide the money between the Youth Forum, the High Dependency Unit, Ward 84 (oncology and hematology) and Ward 85 (which looks after a number of young patients, including those with cardiology, cystic fibrosis, endocrinology and respiratory problems).

Ellia’s mum Joanna said: “Ellia is very passionate about helping the children’s hospital and doing all she can.

“Originally, sailing was secondary to her ballet. She took the Royal Yachting Association’s Youth Sailing Scheme courses when she was younger, but ballet was always the biggest hobby of hers.

“Sadly her condition meant she had to give up ballet. But now she’s really developed a love of sailing, joined Redesmere Sailing Club and improved her skills. She’s also bought her own dinghy called Fantaztic.

“I’m so proud of her and what she has achieved. When Ellia sets her mind to something she gives it her all. She really wants to make a big difference to the hospital.”

Ellia will be taking on her 10-hour challenge on Saturday, 29th May from 9am to 7pm. Joanna, friends and family will be supporting Ellia from the lakeside and selling refreshments and cakes in exchange for a donation.

Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity’s Community Fundraising Officer Georgia Sleigh said: “It’s incredible that Ellia has chosen 10 hours of sailing for her challenge – she’s definitely not starting small and obviously wants to make a real impact for the children’s hospital.

“She’s set herself a target of £2,000 and has already passed the halfway mark, so her fundraising is going really well. We’re really impressed with how she has been getting on.

“Redesmere Sailing Club is on such a beautiful lake so I’d love to encourage people to go along, enjoy the scenery, cheer Ellia on and, of course, make a donation to a fantastic cause!”

To sponsor Ellia visit Ellia's Sail Challenge on JustGiving.