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The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP was onshore Saturday 3 December to celebrate International Day of People with Disability with the well-known organisation, Sailors with disAbilities (SWD).
Mr Turnbull officially accepted the role of patron of SWD and shared sailing stories as he stood side-by-side with the founder David Pescud, with volunteers of Sailors with disAbilities, with Lomandra School teacher, Keith Jackson, and with students of the school.
Mr Turnbull has been a long time supporter of SWD, having attended previous regattas and other events to support the disabled community. In previous years, he has also announced the SWD crew for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. However, SWD President David Leslie, informed him that in 2011 “with limited funding in the post Global Financial Crisis period, SWD had withdrawn from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to focus on their core business of taking disabled and disadvantaged youth on the water “.
“We support over 4000 kids annually through our Try Sailing Program” Leslie went on to explain “and these programs are funded solely by commercial sponsors and significant private donors. Tough choices were necessary in 2011.”
Mr Turnbull later joined students, from Lomandra School, on board SWD’s yacht, Kayle. Lomandra School is based in Campbelltown and has been operational since 1998. It is a special needs school for students with severe challenging behaviours. The students, all with registered disabilities, had recently completed a structured five-week sailing program with SWD building their skills, confidence, self esteem and team work.
Their teacher Keith Jackson shared with Mr Turnbull how “ this new and challenging environment has provided a vehicle for students to, not only achieve personally and demonstrate cooperation in a team, but also to start to make positive choices”.