Laura West, secretary of the Society of Shoe Fitters (SSF) has nominated her charity, the Nancy Oldfield Trust, for half the proceeds from the ‘Red and Black’ fundraiser.

“It is always difficult to choose a charity as they are all well meaning and most have some sort of impact on our lives at some point,” Laura said. “I chose the Nancy Oldfield Trust because the larger charities receive so much more publicity and can afford to promote themselves.”

The Nancy Oldfield Trust offers disabled and socially disadvantaged people excitement, freedom, adventure, providing wheelchair access on the Norfolk Broads. Laura tells us what the charity’s all about…

“Being on or near water helps us all in so many ways.  Water can be fun, challenging, scary, interesting – it changes with the weather and the time of year, and it is soothing, healing and good for the soul!  The Nancy Oldfield Trust has both sailing and motor boats to get people of all ages and disabilities out onto the water. Imagine if you had no legs and had to be pushed everywhere, but then someone sits you in a sailing dinghy. Suddenly you are in charge of your own destination – you can go in whichever direction you like, breeze permitting!  Alternatively, you are sitting in an old people’s home looking at one another, unable to go anywhere unaccompanied. With the help of the Trust, you can be together on a motorised boat enjoying the sunshine sparkling like tiny diamonds on the water, the reflections of the trees and clouds, boats of all shapes and sizes, watching kingfishers, grebe, geese, swans, otters, and dragonflies all diving in and out of the lilypads.  It is heaven on earth.”

“The charity is based at Neatishead, so they sail out primarily on Barton Broad, which is inaccessible by road. Barton is a large stretch of Broad and is famous on two fronts – it is where Lord Admiral Nelson learned to sail, and a WW2 pilot took an aerial photograph in which, eerily, the whole broad became a beautiful woman’s face. More frightening still, it is where I am teaching myself to sail too!

“The Nancy Oldfield Trust is annually providing hundreds of people of every age and handicap the chance to experience the same thing, and if those people derive as much pleasure as I do from that stretch of water and can forget all their troubles, worries, aches and pains for just the odd hour or two, then to my mind it is a very worthwhile cause. I am filled with admiration for their bravery and expertise.”