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Olympic hero leaves legacy for youngsters
SILVER STARS: Great Britain's Iain Percy, left, and Andrew Simpson celebrate after winning silver in the Weymouth Olympic sailing events
FRIENDS and family of Olympic gold medallist Andrew Simpson have launched a foundation in his name to encourage youngsters to take up sailing.
It was officially launched at a fundraising event celebrating Mr Simpson’s life in San Francisco on Sunday, hosted by Sir Ben and other sailing stars.
He died in an accident in May while training for the America’s Cup off San Francisco. He leaves behind his wife Leah and their two boys, Freddie, three, and nine-month-old Hamish, who live in Sherborne.
Sir Ben said: “The foundation aims to help young sailors who have a bit of talent, and who would like to take their sailing career further, whether as a sailor, boat builder, sailmaker, or just something in the sailing industry.
“If we can help just one young person do that it will be a massive achievement, but of course we want to help as many young people into the sport of sailing as possible and that is our goal.”
The foundation will encourage children to visit their local sailing clubs and try the sport by providing equipment and coaching.
Through a mentoring programme the youngsters will get the chance to compete at major international events as members of the ‘Bart’ squad.
Starting with a test close to Mr Simpson’s home town in Sherborne, the programme will grow to other areas of the UK and worldwide.
Trustee Amanda Simpson said her brother was dedicated to encouraging children.
She said: “Bart went into lots of schools and did lots of talks to try and inspire children.
“The idea was to keep his legacy going because he was really passionate about it.
“At the moment we’re looking for donations and sponsorship, we want to start the programme in Dorset next April or May.
“I think he would be really chuffed, he was really keen on it and did so much.”
Find out more visit andrewsimpsonsailing.org
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