The eyes of the world have been on London this summer. That is – of course – apart from during the Olympic and Paralympic sailing competitions which have taken place in Weymouth and Portland.
According to Phoebe Thompson reporting for 2K Plus International Sports Media, with the influx of visitors to the area, the churches in Weymouth and Portland decided to host ‘Refresh’, a series of events and activities for local people and tourists during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Pirate Fun on the Next Wave Ship
Freelance reporter Thompson says that as part of Refresh, YWAM’s New Wave ship has moored up in Weymouth for the duration of the Paralympics, putting on pirate parties for local youngsters (including a midnight mutiny where a crew member was thrown overboard…) and regular tours of the impressive boat. Alongside this, Bedouin tents have been erected across Weymouth and Portland, to provide relaxing spaces for visitors to rest, or to receive a free face paint or foot massage.
Refresh organiser, Anni Douglas, explained their reasons for hosting these particular events during the Paralympic Games. ‘The Paralympics are important to us. And it’s important for churches more generally too. A lot of people have felt alienated from churches, because they aren’t necessarily very wheelchair friendly, or accessible for people with disabilities. We are definitely improving in this area but we don’t have a great track record. So I think it’s really important that we engage now, and just celebrate life.’
2K Plus International Sports Media Reporter Phoebe Thompson
Thompson concluded in her report that Captain of the YWAM ship, Herman Barkmeijer, was particularly keen for the ship to be in Weymouth during the Paralympics. ‘We really wanted to be part of the Paralympics Games because there is such a positive energy to them. Here in Weymouth, you can see the people sailing and see that they are not hindered by whatever handicap they have – and this is closely related to what we envision for our crew and our trainees. There are a lot of things that hinder you but you can make the decision not to be the victim but go for a life that is full and has meaning.’