HRH Duchess of Cambridge inspires London pupils

HRH Duchess of Cambridge visits the final Land Rover BAR Roadshow to see how they are using sailing to engage young people in STEM

It wasn’t a usual Friday for 122 East London pupils, as they were joined by HRH Duchess of Cambridge at Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre for the final Land Rover BAR Roadshow.

The Land Rover BAR is the British sailing team led by Sir Ben Ainslie, who competed in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. It’s roadshow, which is supported by Land Rover and Bermuda Tourism Authority, aims to inspire a new generation of sailors, designers and engineers. Consequently, the 1851 Trust, official charity of the Land Rover BAR, invited pupils to take part in a multi-activity day which offered a unique behind-the scenes look at sailing. During the roadshow, pupils discovered the science and engineering developments behind the British boat in the America’s Cup and learnt about sustainability by sailing on boats via a virtual reality simulator. They also had the opportunity to get out onto the water and try some water sports.

“It’s all about showing them how the topics they learn in school are used in the real world,” said Ben Cartledge, CEO of 1851 Trust. “We are giving them an educational opportunity whilst interspersing the fun of being out on the water.”

Ben also explained how the Trust is keen to use the role models that are part of the charity to engage young people in STEM. HRH Duchess of Cambridge has been a Royal Patron for the 1851 Trust since it was established and is incredibly passionate about sailing. During her visit to the roadshow, the Duchess joined pupils to learn about sustainability and take part in a treasure hunt.

Samiyah Khanom from Cannon Barnet Primary was one of the pupils to greet the Duchess and she expressed how it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The roadshow has been a great experience and it’s been really fun because we got to meet a member of the royal family. I gave her the bunch of flowers and welcomed her to the Docklands Sailing Centre,” said Samiyah. “I think sailing is really fun and just like swimming it can help you to overcome your fear of water.”

In total, there were four schools at the roadshow; East London Science School, Bow Secondary School, Cubbit Town Junior School and Cannon Barnett Primary. Paul Cornish, Vice Principal at East London Science School, explained how the roadshow’s activities offered an opportunity that his pupils wouldn’t ordinarily experience.

“The roadshow provides pupils with an easy way to get into sailing as it doesn’t just show the practical-side, it’s also about the background behind it,” said Paul. “For example, they have seen how science and other STEM subjects go into building a successful sailing team.”

Although this is the final roadshow this year, the 1851 Trust has plans for more events and encourages schools to sign up to their platform, This offers curriculum-linked resources in biology, physics, maths and design and technology.

For more information visit the 1851 Trust’s website.      

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