The PRINCESS ROYAL visited Haslar Marina Gosport on Tuesday, November 1st to re-commission a unique historic junk yacht Boleh for charity work. The Princess Royals deep interest in sailing matters is well known and it is most appropriate that she has visited Gosport to see the work that has be done by Boleh Trust and to dedicate the now fully restored yacht to her life of charitable service.
The Pricess Royal was met on arrival at Haslar Marina by Henry and George Middleton, nephews of the yacht’s designer and builder Robin Kilroy and other family members and now serving as chairman and vice chairman of Boleh Trust, patrons, trustees, volunteers and representatives of the groups who use the vessel as well as local school children.
Her Royal Highness spent over an hour chatting to those present in the Marina’s new restaurant The Creek. Before going on board the yacht which she carefully inspected.
The chairman of The Boleh Trust, Group Captain Henry Middleton mad a short speech that at Boleh’s launch in Singapore in 1949 the words “i name you Boleh and may you live up to it” were spoken. (Boleh in Malay means ‘can do’). Her Royal Highness then made a short speech in which she thanked the Boleh Trust adding ‘We use the word unique rather loosely and i congratulate you all for restoring this concept kept alive to serve a very useful purpose to get people who can do to do a bit more.
She then carried out the traditional bottle ceremony before unveiling a plaque on the masthead.
Among the attendees was the first apprentice, Jason Rankin, who worked on the restoration of Boleh as a seventeen year old in the apprentice school set up with a grant from the National Lottery in Portsmouth Dockyard in 2008.
He is now a qualified shipwright working in Chichester. Kerryanne, Jade and Amelia from Mayfield School Portsmouth were among the students present with their teacher and were happy to chat about a very memorable day sailing in the Solent. Boleh Trust crew members Craig, who is the Operations Director of the Trust, and Nigel the skipper, spoke of how some groups arriving on board for a sailing experience look a bit apprehensive and unsure but the change as they leave invigorated and confident proves that Boleh lives up to her name.
Among the benefices of the Boleh Trust have been the wounded injured and sick (WIS) recovery programme funded by Royal Navy Royal Marines Charities, Army cadets, Andy’s Man Club which is a mental health support charity. Forces ready course for those hoping to join uniformed services, children of service families and local children. Time spent on board helps participants bond as a team, share experiences and builds confidence.