“He’s a real inspiration”: Teens raise money in aid of ill instructor

From left: William Penny Jjnr. Christopher Willis and Henry Whipp. Picture: Submitted

From left: William Penny Jjnr. Christopher Willis and Henry Whipp. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Three friends are raising money for the Dystonia Society by taking part in the Navigators Three Rivers Race on the Broads.

The Yeoman, the boat the teenagers will be racing in. Picture: Submitted

The Yeoman, the boat the teenagers will be racing in. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

On June 3, the three school friends - William Penny Jnr, 17, Christopher Willis, 17 and Henry Whipp, 16, are all competing in the annual sailing competition and fundraising for dystonia after being inspired by their one of their instructors, Paul Clarke, who is living with the condition.

William, a student at Suffolk's Royal Hospital School, from East Runton, said: 'We are raising the money because their services are being cut due to a shortage of funds, although the money we raise may not be much compared to their running costs, the least we can do is the best we can to help them.'

The 50-mile race has been a part of Horning Sailing Club since 1961 and 90 teams have signed up to the test of stamina which can last up to 24 hours.

The race will take sailers through the Bure, Thurne and Ant rivers.


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Participants travel from all over the country and some teams travel internationally to compete in the race.

William said: 'He [Mr Clarke] is a really inspiring, helpful and kind man, so the least we can do for him is give money in order to help fund the Dystonia Society.'

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Of the money raised 75pc will be given to The Dystonia Society with 25pc going towards the sailing club's training centre, in order to help maintain the equipment which services the 80 local children who attend every Thursday.

The team has already raised half of its target of £250 on the GoFundMe page.

William's father William Penny Snr, a volunteer at Horning Sailing Club, said: 'Paul still turns up every weekend and gives his time to teach the youngsters to sail. He's really an inspiration. He doesn't give up and that's what inspired the boys to do it for charity.

'The boys have done it all on their own, it was all their own idea. They wish to give something back for all what they have gained from the club, which is all done by volunteers.'

Dystonia is a medical term for a range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and contractions.

The Dystonia Society estimates that more than 70,000 people are affected by dystonia in the UK.

To donate go to www.gofundme.com/2017-three-rivers-race.

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