ShelterBox HQ yesterday welcomed Olympic yachtsman and America’s Cup victor Sir Ben Ainslie, on a flying visit to support their Syria Refugee Appeal.
Quadruple Olympic gold medallist, knighted in the last New Year’s Honours, and most recently victorious Americas Cup strategist, Sir Ben Ainslie has long been a supporter of disaster relief charity ShelterBox. Brought up in Cornwall, UK and a former Truro School pupil, he learned to sail at Restronguet Creek near Falmouth, and his parents still live near to ShelterBox headquarters on the Lizard.
Despite a tight transatlantic schedule, Sir Ben took time out yesterday to endorse the charity’s Syria Refugee Appeal by visiting ShelterBox’s Helston headquarters. The appeal aims to raise £2 million worldwide in order to help up to 5,000 more refugee families in Syria and surrounding countries.
Sir Ben Ainslie said, ‘It is great to see a westcountry-based charity making such a tangible difference. I have been involved with ShelterBox for a couple of years now, and seen the charity come a long way. It is great to lend a hand, and to see so many volunteers here. You don’t realise until you come somewhere like this just what is going on globally – it is daunting, and a little upsetting. But if you’d lost your home I guess you’d be pretty happy to see one of these ShelterBox tents turn up.’
He was briefed on ShelterBox’s current operations, joined the team packing ShelterBoxes for Syria himself in the organisation’s warehouse, and recorded some personal messages for supporters and donors.
Director of Operations John Leach said, ‘Sir Ben Ainslie is simply an inspiration for an organisation like ShelterBox – recognised on the world stage for his professionalism and determination, proud of his Cornish roots, a true team player very much in line with our charitable aims. His endorsement of our Syria Refugee Appeal, and his visit today, have given a great boost.’
Also hosting the visit, Director of Fundraising and Communications Becky Maynard added, ‘It was great to welcome Ben back to ShelterBox. He is a role model, a national hero, and speaks affectionately of his Cornish childhood. His kind words today will help us reach out to families who have lost everything, sending a message that they have not been abandoned.’
To join Ben and support our Syria Refugee Appeal please donate here.