Today, Duncan Souster, Chief Executive, will be representing the Jubilee Sailing Trust at the funeral of Sir Jack Hayward, a tremendous supporter and benefactor of our organisation, who sadly passed away on Tuesday 13th January.

Sir Jack was a much loved figure within the Trust, and his unerring belief in its work has played a huge part in creating the legacy that exists today and continues to grow. His generosity was instrumental in founding the charity and supporting its early years of operation.

He continued to make major financial contributions, not least towards the building of Lord Nelson, encouraging the Trust to accelerate plans for her build by making the donation conditional on laying the keel within one year. It is fair to say that we have never looked back, with Lord Nelson proving to be one of the focal points of the Trust’s growth.

He also generously funded our chartering of the Soren Larsen, a Baltic brigantine, to help us validate the concept of a fully accessible tall ship before the building of Lord Nelson took place, taking care of all budget deficits over a three-year period.

Sir Jack was warmly regarded by everyone within the Trust and always took time to meet with crews whenever our ships visited the Bahamas, where he lived, ensuring they were well look after whilst in port. Most recently he hosted a fundraising reception for the Trust in 2012, during the return of Tenacious from the Caribbean.

His love of the sea was palpable. In addition to his constant support for the Trust, he funded three international racing yachts Great Britain I, II and III, helped to save the sloop Gannet (the Royal Navy’s only survivor of the transition from sail to steam) and made a significant contribution to help raise the Mary Rose.

Put simply, without Sir Jack’s commitment to our work over many years, we would not have been able to provide 40,000 people with life-changing experiences on board our ships, nearly half of whom have had some sort of physical disability.

His recent obituary in the Daily Telegraph described him as “a philanthropist of uncommon generosity”; a benevolence which those of us involved with the Trust have felt keenly.

He will be sorely missed and our condolences go to his family and friends. We will be liaising with them to discuss an appropriate further tribute to his work.