Diary - new facility opens for young sailors on Portland

A sunny morning tempted me back on to my motorcycle in order to attend the opening of a new centre at the National Sailing Academy on Portland. It's housed in two very smart wooden lodges next to the Academy itself. It's the brainchild of the Andrew Simpson Foundation, named after the international sailor, who tragically died six years ago when the catamaran he was sailing on capsized. His Olympic sailor friend Iain Percy spoke movingly about the Foundation's aims, to encourage more young people into sailing, a sport that encompasses so many of life's values. His brother, Richard, was also there. He is the CEO of the Foundation and I spoke to him for some time about this exciting project, which has reached 18,000 youngsters here and in Italy. Peter Allam, the Academy's quite superb CEO, was also there and it was nice to catch up with him, too. All in all, it was a poignant morning, with many of Andrew Simpson's friends in attendance. So, too, was his wife and their two children, who cut the tape to officially open the centre. It was a great pleasure to catch up with the new Mayor of Portland, Cllr Susan Cocking. She's a star and we had a good catch-up. Then it was up to Dorchester to meet Stuart Dawson and Tina Frampton, from the council. They'd kindly agreed to a meeting with the Lily House Project, which caters for vulnerable young adults. I shall not bore you with the details, but due to the fact this organisation is not recognised as a housing provider by the council, some of their tenants are having problems with universal credit payments, and I was keen to try and put this right. We had a most constructive meeting and both Stuart and Tina would not have been more helpful.