A DISABLED Royal Navy veteran has praised the Inverclyde community for giving him a warm welcome on a mission to circumnavigate Britain and Ireland in aid of charity.

Ian Wyllie is taking on the gruelling solo sailing challenge to raise funds for the Andrew Cassell Foundation, which helps disabled people achieve maximum independence on the water.

The charity helped Ian, who comes from Hampshire, get back to sailing after complications from a spinal injury left him in a nursing home.

He arrived in Inverkip earlier this month and was able to get checks carried out on his Vancouver 27 sailboat, named Trilleen, before continuing on his journey.

Greenock Telegraph:

Ian said: “I am grateful to Kip Marina for finding a berth for me for the winter and squeezing Trilleen into their busy boat lifting schedule so that I can attend to some important issues with through hull valves and check her over before taking on this next leg of my charity sail.

“I’m also grateful to the community of Inverkip and Greenock for their friendly help and advice in pointing me to places to drink coffee and find parts and services.”

Assistant marina master Daniel Mellor told the Tele it was a privilege to be able to help.

He said: “We are very proud to play a part in Ian’s solo sail around Britain and Ireland, albeit a small part.

“It has been fantastic having Ian at Kip Marina with Trilleen and was very interesting to speak with him and get an insight into what he is planning to achieve.

Greenock Telegraph:

“Ian is doing some great things. He is a big supporter of the Andrew Cassel Foundation for which he is raising funds.

“We wish Ian and Trilleen all the best for the rest of the journey ahead and wish him nothing but fair winds and success.”

Ian set sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in August 2022, however a spanner was thrown in the works when Trilleen sustained severe damage to her mast in early 2023.

Having spent most of last year awaiting a replacement, Ian remains keen to complete his voyage in 2024.

Greenock Telegraph:

He will pass the north of Shetland before travelling down the east coast and returning to Cowes.

Ian hopes his efforts - which have so far raised more than £3,500 - will support the Foundation’s delivery of training across the UK.

He added: “I will be forever grateful to the Foundation for taking a chance on me when I wasn’t able to walk more than 20 feet and racing keelboats was the furthest thing from my mind.

“Their careful mentoring and training got me back to the point where I rediscovered my love of the ocean and was able to take on single handing Trilleen.”

To support Ian’s fundraiser, go to crowdfunder.co.uk.