Bristol

Lord Nelson tall ship for disabled people may get Bristol home

Lord Nelson at sea
Image caption The Lord Nelson is specially adapted to allow people with disabilities to get around it fully

A tall ship that is adapted to give people with physical impairments sailing experience may become a permanent attraction in Bristol.

Since 1986, the 55ft Lord Nelson has made more than 16,000 accessible voyages carrying 20,000 people.

It allows people with physical impairments, including wheelchair users, to sail side-by-side with people who do not have disabilities.

Paralympian Karen Butler said the ship "sees the person not the disability".

Image caption Wheelchair users can get around the entire ship

The Jubilee Trust, which owns the ship, has run into financial difficulties and is hoping to save it from being decommissioned.

In one week in June, the trust raised £1m in order to survive, but said to cut costs the ship would no longer sail and it is currently docked in Bristol Harbour.

Image caption Five-time Paralympian Karen Butler said the voyage changed her life

Andy Spark, of the trust, said the plan to moor the ship permanently in Bristol would open up new possibilities for disabled people.

"When we're at sea the youngest person we have is 16 but if we have the ship aside we can work with a whole new range of people and children," said Mr Spark.

Image caption Roesie Percy said sailing on the Lord Nelson made her feel "normal"
Image caption Roesie Percy on the Lord Nelson

After sailing on the ship, five-time Paralympian Karen Butler from Bristol was picked to be part of the Paralympics GB shooting team.

"The ship doesn't see disabilities, it sees the person, so it doesn't matter what your ability is, the ship runs to the best of your ability and challenges you," she said.

Visually-impaired photographer Roesie Percy, 16, from Bristol said her voyage on the Lord Nelson made her feel "normal like any non-disabled person would".

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