BRITAIN’S Paralmypic golden girl Helena Lucas was the guest of honour at the Poole Harbour Boat Show this weekend. Thousands flocked to the quay to browse beautiful boats of all shapes and sizes. Organised by a team from Poole Quay Boat Haven and Poole Harbour Commissioners, the free event also featured a range of stalls and various activities to keep the crowds entertained including on-the-water activities, live music, and fireworks.
Mrs Lucas MBE, who visited the show today, said there was a “fantastic” atmosphere and she hoped it would encourage more people to take an interest in sailing. The 40-year-old, who won gold in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and is the first Paralympian to be selected to compete in Rio in 2016, said: “It’s about encouraging people who may have never been to a boat show, or who may have never been on a boat before, to get on the water and to show the Great British public that sailing is not an elite sport that you need to have lots of money to do.”
Keen sailors Maureen and Mike Fudge from Sandbanks said they hoped to see the event return next year. Mrs Fudge said: “It’s brilliant. It is something that Poole has desperately needed for a long time. Everywhere seems to have a boat show but Poole." Paul Eyles, who came down from Wareham with his wife Margaret and to browse the vessels, said: “I think it’s right that Poole does have it’s own boat show - Poole is all about boats and it has been for donkeys’ years.”
Richard Lacey, chairman of Poole Harbour Commissioners, was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially launch the show on Saturday. He said: "A lot of people have worked extremely hard to pull this event together for the town and we thank them all for their efforts. We are starting something this year which will ultimately put Poole very firmly on the maritime event map and we are committed to making it accessible to everyone. That can only be done with the dedication of our people and they have come up trumps."