Lymington Sailability seek a new chairman

Lymington Sailability Chairperson 2000 – 2021

Aly Gun has been an inspirational and energetic chairperson for Lymington Sailability, for the last 21 years.  She fell into this role, quite by accident and certainly not by design, shortly after she was diagnosed with a genetic eye condition which resulted in her permanent visual impairment.

As a keen horsewoman, she sadly also suffered a major injury whilst out riding, that left her with three lots of spinal surgery and an elbow replacement; the news that she could no longer drive, meant that retirement was imminent.

A discussion about joining a rehabilitation scheme became her fortuitous salvation and Aly was introduced to the local Lymington Sailability group, where the members took her under their wings and got her sailing and before long, she had the bug!

On joining the group in the early 2000s the charity only had six disabled members and six volunteers.  It wasn’t long before Aly had joined the executive committee as Vice Chair and so began her journey of commitment to the charity for the next 20 years.  Her strongest observation that here was a group doing recreational sailing, but it had no organisational structure nor design; it was operating with minimal Health & Safety; and there was no clear route to marketing and fundraising. Aly quickly filled the space and was soon addressing all operational issues. A strong relationship was forged with the RYA and drawing on their experience she brought structure into the charity and continued to tap into everybody’s knowledge to create a strong and sustainable operation.

She quickly realized the potential strength of her position as a female Chair and sought to raise her profile wherever she could. In 2004 she elected to sail solo around the IOW with a support team of four able bodied sailors.  In her words, “I hate being tarnished with the term of blind. There are varying degrees of blindness – I am visually impaired.  But when the media got hold of the story that a “blind woman had sailed solo around the IOW” my fame was guaranteed!” 

She won the BBC South sports person of the year award which gave her a fabulous public profile with a lot of influence to raise funds for the charity and help the membership to grow.

Three royal visits from Princess Anne – patron of the National Charity Sailability followed and she soon became a force of nature amongst the local sailing community.  Such a profile does not come without a fair degree of responsibility and on one occasion the Princess Royal was due to visit the club for a naming ceremony for a boat that had been donated. However, a couple of weeks before the ceremony, the boat was stolen – leaving only the engine! Not to be outdone, Aly and her team rallied the community, and another boat was donated just in the nick of time!

At a high point the charity had more than 100 members – groups from all over the region would come to use them to sail; different groups, schools and institutions were attracted by the inclusiveness of Sailability’s offering. Truly, this is and remains today, an equal opportunity charity.

With Aly’s decision to pull back, the charity has lost a huge personality and asset – a major hole that the team are anxious to fill. There is so much more to do, so much more fun to be had to ensure that Lymington Sailability continues to make sailing and powerboating accessible to all – whatever their circumstances.

The team are in place to support this – They just need a brilliant new leader to join them.

Job Description

Good leadership skills
Good people skills
Decision maker
Arbitrator and negotiation
Dealing with media and public speaker
Authority  Presence
Disability – make sailing and powerboating accessible to all regardless of circumstances.
Mental health, sensory, gender, ethnicity, age, social status, equal opportunity charity, inclusive to all.
CRB checks
Proper induction

Disability awareness courses.

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