Despite the windy conditions, we are delighted to report that our 3rd WetWheels Muscle Dreams Programme (27-28 July 2015) proved a most enjoyable experience for three lucky beneficiaries from different parts of the UK. As the programme is now being marketed across MHF’s network that includes several hospices across the UK as well through a number of charity partners, there were many more nominations received than in 2014.
|25yr-old Matin has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD): he heard about the opportunity through his friends (with muscular dystrophy) at powerchair football
“Taking control of the WetWheels powerboat (at fast speeds!) was the best thing ever. This Muscle Dream experience was amazing; even in a wheelchair, you can do anything! I would recommend Muscle Dreams to everyone living with muscular dystrophy as they will not only make new friends but also carry out activities they never thought would be possible.”
Note below from his mum (Parichehr Latifi) posted on Facebook:
“It was an amazing experience for all of us. Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.”
Once again, The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) partnered with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support UK (formerly The Jennifer Trust), Geoff Holt MBE and his WetWheels team along with Jamie’s Italian Restaurant and The Car Wash Company at Gunwharf Quays and HMS Warrior at the HM Naval Base.
Overlooking Southsea Common and the Solent with stunning views of the Isle of Wight, The Queens Hotel in Portsmouth was MHF’s base – a magnificent Edwardian hotel with charm and charisma, the staff were welcoming and so helpful in making sure that everyone was comfortable.
Monday afternoon refreshments were followed by a brief welcome by MHF’s CEO Michael McGrath and then the party departed in convoy to Gunwharf Quays for a scrumptious celebratory dinner at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant that included a Muscle Warrior salute of gratitude to the Head Chef for laying on such a fantastic feast. The warm evening gave the opportunity for the party to see the WetWheels catamaran powerboat in its moorings at Gunwharf Quays Marina beneath the spectacularly lit-up Spinnaker Tower, a perfect way to end the first day.
|25yr-old Donna (pictured below) has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (type 2): she heard about the opportunity via Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support UK for whom she is a Peer Support Volunteer
“I liked the fact that even though I had an emergency, I was still able to participate in the activity. It was an excellent experience and a memory I will have for life.”
The below excerpt is taken from Donna’s nomination:
‘My name is Donna and I’m a self confessed speed freak with the need for adrenaline! I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2 and have recently had to give up my power chair so have had to make do with someone else pushing me. I would love the opportunity to be a ‘wet wheeler’ as it would be great to feel the wind in my hair again and the sense of freedom I crave. I head about this opportunity through the Jennifer Trust website (now SMA Support UK)’.”
Tuesday’s weather was windy. As a result, the original plan to head over to Cowes was changed and it was decided to keep WetWheels closer to home – nevertheless, her twin Suzuki 300 HP outboard engines were put to good use in the Solent as she once again provided a powerfully exhilarating experience on the water for Donna, Matin (pictured below) and Lucky (pictured below) together with their respective carers and families. The thrill of being out on the open water in the UK’s only fully accessible powerboat and only occasionally being sprayed added to the fun of the day.
The final part of this year’s programme was the opportunity to get on board the fittingly named HMS Warrior for light refreshments, a group Muscle Warrior salute (of course!) and a brief yet knowledgeable and entertaining talk about its history by its Executive Officer, Tony Ford.
Pictured below: one of the programme Volunteer Hosts, Natalie Fleming (Events Administrative Assistant) from SMA Support UK on board HMS Warrior 1860.
Based at Victory Gate at the HM Naval Base, HMS Warrior 1860 was Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship and the pride of Queen Victoria’s Fleet; she was the fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world when she was launched. Such was her reputation that enemy fleets were intimidated by her obvious supremacy and deterred from attacking Britain at sea – yet she never fired a shot in anger.
Final farewells and the distribution of MHF’s surprise goody-bags were conducted in the somewhat unusual location of Gunwharf Quays Car Park – and the reason? Well, thanks to a brilliant wash and polish by The Car Wash Company (the UK’s largest operator of 100% waterless hand car washing and valeting centres in the UK), everyone drove away with happy memories in their shiny cars!