Ten-year-old cancer survivor from Saffron Walden has a birthday to remember as he sails yacht through London

PUBLISHED: 11:02 01 August 2017

The crew head through Tower Bridge as they finish their leg. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

The crew head through Tower Bridge as they finish their leg. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

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A 10-year-old boy from Saffron Walden, who is recovering from cancer, was cheered on in London last week as he completed his leg of a 2,400-mile sailing trip.

Ernie Brown, who took part in the mammoth sail. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer TrustErnie Brown, who took part in the mammoth sail. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Ernie Brown appeared live on television with eight other crewmates, who are also in recovery from the disease, as he sailed through Tower Bridge in the capital.

The team had just sailed 120-nautical miles as part of a four-month Round Britain 2017 voyage – a challenge set up by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Ernie said: “There are too many best bits to choose from. I really liked sailing in the North Sea because within half an hour of leaving the marina the countryside had disappeared and the coast felt tiny.

“You felt in the middle of nowhere and that was really exciting.”

Moonspray sailing down The Thames as part of the challenge. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer TrustMoonspray sailing down The Thames as part of the challenge. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Ernie first sailed with the trust in 2016 after undergoing treatment for eye cancer.

This year, he took to the boat again, sailing into Canary Wharf on his tenth birthday before spending a few days in the capital to celebrate.

“Sailing through the Thames Barrier was special and I took the helm, which was a big responsibility because there’s lots of massive container ships, and I loved the Science Museum and spent ages in the plane section. I can name them all now.”

The challenge sees up to five different youngsters joining the crew for each leg of the trip, and helps them to rebuild their confidence after cancer.

Even some of the full-time crew have been through treatment.

Ernie, who was part of the ninth leg, added: “I’ve got a lot more confident again because of the trust.

“It’s really important to meet people who have been through the same thing and who you can share what you’ve been through and your memories of when you had cancer with. Talking about it really helps.”

The 44ft voyage yacht – called Moonspray – remained berthed in St Katherine’s Dock last week before four more young people joined the crew for the 200-mile tenth leg.

The vessel will now sail to the trust’s hometown of Cowes before the trip finishes back where it started in Largs, in September.

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