Duncan Souster has been appointed as Chief Executive of The Jubilee Sailing Trust, it was announced today. Souster, who is a life-long sailor and has grown-up living with disability in his family, will assume the position effective September 1st.

The appointment comes amid a period of unprecedented success for the Trust as they celebrate the first ever circumnavigation of the world by a fully accessible square rig tall ship.

The Lord Nelson, one of their purpose-built vessels, returns to the UK on September 19th after completing the 50,000 nautical mile Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge.

The National Lottery Awards has also recognised the organisation as 2014 Sports Charity of the Year. Ade Adepitan, the British television presenter, paralympian and wheelchair basketball player, presented the award at a ceremony earlier in August.

The Lord Nelson and Tenacious, the JST’s second ship, have been custom built and include diverse adaptations that make it possible for physically disabled people, including wheelchair users, to take a full and active role in crewing the ship sailing side-by-side, sharing the fun, adventure and challenge of life on-board.

Since inception 35 years ago, the charity has taken over 40,000 people on life changing voyages, over half of whom were physically disabled, including 5,000 wheelchair users.

“I am honoured and delighted to be leading such a wonderful and unique charitable organisation, especially at such an exciting time in the JST’s history”, said Souster on his appointment.

“Lord Nelson’s expedition allowed us to bring our principles of inclusion and equality to over 30 countries, including South Africa, Brazil and India. This has raised the visibility of our work and strengthened our base of support. It has also helped us to identify ways to improve the way we operate. I will now be working closely with my colleagues to build on this platform, so we can continue going from strength to strength and broaden the impact of our work.”

“We are delighted that Duncan has agreed to become Chief Executive”, said James Crill, Chairman of Trustees. “He has already shown his dedication to the trust over the past six years, volunteering as an extremely active member of our Trustee Board. His significant and highly relevant commercial experience, strategic vision and empathy for our mission, is exactly what need at this critical point in our history. His prior experience of the trust will also ensure he hits the ground running.”

Prior to joining the JST, Souster ran his own consultancy and is a former Director of Global Sales Operations at ManpowerGroup, a Fortune 500 Business Services firm. Souster also continues as a Trustee of a musical charity, Voces Cantables Music.

Notes to the editor:

• Charity was founded in 1978 by a Queens Silver Jubilee Grant. The organisation also benefited from a National Lottery grant of £6,500,000 in 1997.

• Patron is HRH, Duke of York. Vice-Patrons include Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Peter Snow CBE, and Paralympians Alexandra Rickham and Sarah Outen MBE

• Mission is delivered by two custom-built and specially adapted square-rig tall ships:

o STS Lord Nelson facts and figures: Length: 55m, Beam: 9m, Draft: 4.1m, Masthead height: 31m, Sail area: 1,024 m2, Number of sails: 18, Launched: 1985, Crew: 50

o STS Tenacious facts and figures: Length: 65m, Beam: 10.6m, Draft: 4.6m, Masthead height: 37.6m, Sail area: 1,200 m2, Number of sails: 21, Launched: 2000, Crew: 50

o Examples of special adaptations include flat, wide decks for wheelchair users, wheelchair lifts between deck levels, a hearing loop, a speaking compass, braille signage, guidance rails, fully accessible accommodation, hydraulic power-assisted steering

• Lord Nelson Homecoming details: Lord Nelson will be sailing down the Thames on the 19th September at 10.00am, accompanied by Tenacious (the JST’s second ship). The Royal Marines band will be on deck and various VIPs will be in attendance. Press are invited to be on-board for the event or to watch from a viewing deck on HMS Belfast, near Tower Bridge, where the flotilla will end.

• National Lottery Awards Show will be broadcast on BBC1 on Friday the 19th September at 10.30PM

• ASTO’s Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex, will be visiting Tenacious for a private function on Friday 5th September, hosted by ASTO

• Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, will be visiting Tenacious at the Greenwich Tall Ships Festival on Monday September 8th between 10am and 10.45am

• For interviews, rights-free footage/images and media tours contact: Jon Woods, Head of Marketing & Communications, on +44 (0)23 8042 6842