A CORWEN dad and former Rhyl sea cadet is making waves to help people take part in sailing and boating activities.

Home carer Gary Richards, 33, loved sailing from being young, but followed a career in construction.

His interest in water pursuits had started when he was a teenager, helping with tourists boats in Rhyl harbour. He was encouraged to join the town’s sea cadets at 13, where he met his future partner Sarah.

Years later, as a dad of four, and with one child with autism, Gary volunteered to help the Welsh sailing charity All Afloat, in Rhyl. The charity enables disabled youngsters and others to access sailing and boating on Marine Lake, in Rhyl. The lake features specially equipped boats to help those with mobility issues.

As a consequence of his volunteering Gary was encouraged to train to be an instructor. In partnership with the RYA Cymru Wales and Plas Menai, the National Outdoor Centre in Caernarfon, he has completed a 16-week instructor course. It will also allow him to teach activities such as sailing, windsurfing and stand up paddleboarding, and will be able to bring more activities to Marine Lake.

Gary also encourages his family to take to the water. His children Ellis, 12, Bradley, 11, Dylan, 10 and Torie, 10 are all Rhyl Sea Cadets. The family sail and powerboat at Llyn Brenig sailing club. On their first sailing event at Lake Bala, Ellis and Bradley even won gold medals.

Gary, who lives at Clawdd Poncen, said: “Volunteering, I realised how much I loved sailing and boating, and I could do this to help people who might never have had the opportunity or ever considered sailing, but it also gave me the opportunity for a career change.

“I was so pleased to be supported by All Afloat and RYA Cymru Wales to access the Instructor Course.”

“I have loved every minute of it, making new friends for life, building my own confidence and self-esteem as well giving me employability opportunities.

“This has been truly life-changing.”

Rosy Hearn, All Afloat Manager said: “This shows the impact that the charity has to get more people sailing and boating, but what Gary has achieved is so much more.

“We hope to engage Gary on projects next year, including working on Sailability opportunities, providing sailing for disabled people. We’d like to thank Plas Menai Outdoor Centre for this opportunity.”

See www.rya.org.uk/rya-regions/rya-cymru-wales