Braintree Chronicle published The Braintree teenager who sailed with Dame Ellen MacArthur

A BRAINTREE teenager who has survived two brain tumours got the chance to sail around the Isle of Wight with sailing legend Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Chris Rayner, 18, from Great Notley, took part in the 50-nautical mile course along with 25 other youngsters from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

  1. OVERCOMING ADVERSITY:  Chris Rayner sailed for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust around the Isle of Wight

    OVERCOMING ADVERSITY: Chris Rayner sailed for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust around the Isle of Wight

  2. PrAISE: Dame Ellen

He competed alongside 16,000 sailors on board nearly 1,500 boats in a race around the Isle of Wight.

He was diagnosed with two brain tumours – a medulloblastoma in 2008 and a fibrous histiocytoma in 2010, which required him to have both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


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After having to learn to walk, talk and write all over again, he was invited to join the record-breaking round-the-world sailor for the race’s 77th running.

Chris, who will volunteer at the cancer charity next year, said: “It was an achievement to actually get round the island with so many boats taking part, and to come around 280th out of 600.

“The biggest achievement was to not be sick. I did the race last year and was sick 30 times.”

Dame Ellen was so impressed that she invited Chris to sail this year on her boat Carte Blanche.

Chris said: “I was quite down after all my treatment and I was interested in sailing, so it was a great opportunity.

“I went on one of the sailing weekends and attempted the Round the Island Race last year, but threw up multiple times.”

Every year in June, thousands of boats come from all over the UK, Europe and as far away as the USA and Australia to Cowes, Isle of Wight, for the one-day yacht racing spectacular.

Chris said: “We had a practice sail and had a go in the boat to get a feel of the sea. Ellen MacArther said ‘just go for it’, so I did.”

He is also a patron of the Indee Rose Trust, a small charity set up by the family of a three-year-old who was stricken with a brain tumour.

Chris currently studies accounts, statistics, financial studies, economics and business studies at Colchester Sixth Form College.


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