Paige praised by Ellen MacArthur

DAME Ellen MacArthur admits the courage of Chesterfield’s Paige Nuttall proved inspirational as they sailed together at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Paige was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2006 and was invited to join record-breaking round-the-world sailor MacArthur for the race’s 81st edition.

The 17-year-old was one of 25 youngsters from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust who competed alongside 16,000 sailors around the 53-mile Isle of Wight course.

Afterwards, MacArthur, 35, paid tribute to Chesterfield College Clowne campus student Paige, praising her bravery and spirit. The Derbyshire-born ace said: “Paige is an amazing young person. She is the epitome of courage. To go through what she has done and have the smile that she has is just absolutely extraordinary.

“Paige is an inspiration. We just wanted her to have a good time and gain some confidence and enjoyment from it.’’

Every year, more than 1,800 boats and 16,000 sailors come from all over the UK and mainland Europe and from as far away as the USA and Australia to converge on Cowes, Isle of Wight, for the one-day yacht racing spectacular, which was first established in 1931.

Paige, who sailed aboard Grand Fromage, set an ambitious target of beating three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie just a month before he goes for a record fourth gold in Weymouth.

She said sailing had become one of her favourite hobbies.

The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is the fourh largest participation sport event in the UK.

For more information visit www.roundtheisland.org.uk