Triple Olympic medallist, Ben AINSLIE, (Athens 2004 - Gold - Finn Class; Sydney 2000 - Gold - Laser Class; Atlanta 1996 - Silver - Laser Class) is an international sailing hero. He was also a friend and a 1996 Olympic team-mate of the late John MERRICKS.
Ben said, 'I am honoured to be the first patron of the John Merricks Sailing Trust and delighted to have been asked to support a charity that helps young sailors in the UK. John was not only a great sailor but his attitude to the sport was a terrific example to all young sailors of the future.'
The charity's Trustees were thrilled to hear that Ben had accepted the position of patron. Ian WALKER, JMST Trustee and John's 1996 Olympic sailing partner said, 'Ben is the greatest dinghy sailor of this or perhaps any generation. He is an inspiration to all of our award winners.'
Set up by those closest to John following his untimely death in 1997, The John Merricks Sailing Trust seeks to help other young sailors achieve their goals. In its first 6 years the John Merricks Sailing Trust, a registered charity, has supported youth sailing by awarding more than 40 grants to date. Totalling over £60,000 these awards have been made to deserving individuals, clubs and youth organizations that have demonstrated a financial need and their commitment to sailing.
These awards have ranged from learn to sail schemes in clubs, sea scouts and schools, to grants to top racing youth and junior sailors who need help to buy equipment or to travel to major events.
As Ben commented, 'John would not have achieved all that he did without financial help from others and the John Merricks Sailing Trust does a great job at helping those that need it.'
The John Merricks Sailing Trust is proud to be Supporting Youth Sailing in the United Kingdom.