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Two Martin 16's cruise Vancouver waters

Orphans' Fund sponsors new sailboat for disabled sailors 

By Paul Gowan


When the CKNW Orphans' Fund received a request from the Disabled Sailing Association of BC (DSA) for a new sailboat, it knew the request fit its mission to help special needs children in BC.

In November, the Orphans' Fund agreed to sponsor the purchase of a Martin 16 sailboat - a specially designed, completely safe sailing vessel employed by DSA for use by disabled sailors.

The roots of the CKNW Orphans' Fund date to 1945, when, during fledgling CKNW's second season, the station began a Christmas drive for orphans at a Protestant home in New Westminster. The appeal was so successful, the fund continued to grow from there. The Orphans' Fund takes donations from the community and distributes funds to BC charities and organizations that work on behalf of special needs kids.

In the 1970s when CKNW administrator Shirley Stocker started at the station, local on-air legends, such as Rick Honey and Gary Bannerman, were bringing the Orphans' Fund appeal to ever more radio listeners.

Stocker has also produced the annual CKNW Orphans' Fund Pledge Day, an all-day, on-air December fundraiser that runs from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. non-stop with time out only for news, weather and sports. CKNW's 25th annual Pledge Day aired last Dec. 5th.

Stocker says the Orphans' Fund knew that adopting a boat would provide a greater number of children with disabilities quality recreational opportunities.

The new craft, due at DSA's Jericho Beach sailing headquarters in May, will test the waters off English Bay with the Orphans' Fund name displayed proudly on the hull. The mainsail will carry the CKNW logo.

Since DSA's start in 1988, the demand for its sailing programs has billowed skyward, particularly from young sailors eager to pit their skills against the elements.

Four years ago, DSA operated four Martin 16s. The addition of the 'NW vessel brings DSA's fleet total to eight. In 2003, DSA doubled the number of sails it provided over 2002 with 700, 280 of those for children.

For more information on DSA sailing programs, visit www.disabilityfoundation.org/dsa or call 604-688-6464.

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