OUR TALENTED sailor Callum Leach is living proof that dreams really can come true as he prepares to set sail on the adventure of a lifetime.
At 16 years old he left school early with no qualifications and spiralled into a young life of drug taking and drinking. Homeless, he founded himself in a hostel in his home city of Hull – reaching rock bottom when an overdose saw him end up in hospital.
Five years later this now 21-year-old is transformed with the support of CatZero. Proud and confident he is a trainee sailor working towards his full skipper qualifications and, this weekend, he will set sail from the UK on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Sailing from the London’s St Katharine Docks to Punta del Este, Uruguay over 35-days, Callum will be living his dream as a crew member on board Zhuhai, one of the 11 matched racing yachts making up the race – undertaken around the world in eight-legs for non-professional crew.
This opportunity is being funded through a bursary awarded to Callum by teamArchie, a charitable foundation set up in memory of Archie Lloyd, a young man who died in 2015, aged 18, whilst travelling with friends.
Working with partners and other charities, teamArchie offers programmes and bursaries for young people to make the most of their lives and themselves – aiming to swing the pendulum of opportunity in favour of those who really want to be the best they can be and prove they have the desire to make it happen, but need support.
James Lloyd, Archie’s father and teamArchie co-founder, who is pictured with Callum above, said: “The Clipper Race is the sort of challenge Archie would have loved – requiring determination, stamina, teamwork and the ability to keep smiling and working as a team even when everything’s against you.
“For this award, we were looking for someone for whom the race would be a stepping-stone towards a career. Through his involvement with CatZero’s sailing-based programmes, Callum has shown determination to turn his life around. We know that Callum’s attitude and personality will add a lot to his crew on board Zhuhai,” added James.
Callum’s transformational change is evident and he is forever grateful to the work of CatZero.
“I actually feel lost for words when I think about what has happened to me. I owe my life to CatZero, and I can’t thank teamArchie enough for choosing me for this incredible bursary. I’m determined to do both charities proud, to repay their amazing support for me,” said Callum.
This year, following his Clipper Race adventure, Callum aims to take the Yacht Master qualifications that will enable him to be a permanent First Mate working alongside his mentor Skipper Danny Watson.
As he prepares for his Clipper adventure, Callum recalls his time before CatZero: “In my lowest times I was just trying to get through the day, I really didn’t have any hope and as the drug use increased, then so did that feeling.
“In fact, my intro into CatZero was the day I came out of hospital. It was that point in my life which frightened me actually, I knew there was something more and I had to find it. CatZero has given me that,” added Callum.