Gordon, 83, grabs life by the rudder

Published Date: 07 October 2009
Gordon Worley sailing one of the Sailability trimarans at Ferry Meadows. (ET061009AS034)
HE may have lost both legs and relies on an electric scooter to get around – but in a boat on the lapping waters of Ferry Meadows, Gordon Worley feels free again.

The remarkable octogenarian is celebrating become a solo sailor at the age of 83 – a feat he couldn’t even contemplate when both his legs were amputated due to diabetes, five years ago.But thanks to his gutsy spirit and the help of Sailability, a Peterborough charity which gives disabled people the chance to experience the thrill of sailing, he can now skipper a boat by himself.

Gordon, a former postal executive from Benyon Grove, Orton Malborne, joked that he was originally “tricked” into learning the ropes after making a DVD of the group as part of the U3A’s camcorder club.

The film crew asked him if he could go out on a trimaran.

The grandfather of two had never sailed before and could not see how he could get in a boat with his prosthetic limbs.

However, after some gentle persuasion, he had a go and took to it instantly.

The volunteers found easier ways of getting him in and out of the boat and he went sailing with the aid of a buddy.

He gradually started to try steering and two years’ later, after practising every Tuesday, he is now a solo sailor.

He said: “I feel peaceful when I get out on the water on the boating lake, where you are away from everybody.

“I feel like a normal person again.”

He thanked Sailability for their guidance and said mastering the sail was one of the toughest challenges.

He said: “It was a great feeling when I did it and they told me I could sail solo.”

Gordon’s world was turned upside down when he lost both his legs below the knee in 2004.

Diabetes had meant he had developed gangrene in his toes and a serious infection in his heel, leaving him housebound. Doctors told him the only option was amputation. After the initial shock and adjustment, he decided to take life by the horns.

He said: “I had to roads to go down – the miserable road or to make something of myself. You have just got to carry on.”

Wife June (79) said she was very proud of him.

She said: “Gordon says that when he is on the water, he does not need his legs.

“This gives him two days a week to be able to get out in the fresh air and really enjoy himself.

“We thank the volunteers who do a grand job.”

The full article contains 439 words and appears in Peterborough ET newspaper.
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  • Last Updated: 07 October 2009 3:05 PM
  • Source: Peterborough ET
  • Location: Peterborough
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  3 comments for “Gordon, 83, grabs life by the rudder

  1. wendy
    October 8, 2009 at 9:54 am

    You have oodles of the Bader spirit, Gordon.
    The Douglas Bader Foundation wishes you luck and great enjoyment of your new venture. You are an inspiration.

  2. leggz
    October 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Gordon, what an inspiration! Awesome, just truly aweinspiring. And not forgetting your No 1 supporter Mrs G of course! Truly in the ‘DB’ spririt – making the impossible possible! Thanks.

  3. Graham
    October 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Well done Gordon. I knew you could do and was very happy to have played a small part in your success.

    I think you would like to fly next? Perhaps there is a “flyability”?

    “Thank You” Graham

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