The 2022 York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

On what was one of the hottest days of the year so far, Ellen & Lucy from our activities and events team, set up our bright orange gazebo in a prime spot on Dame Judi Dench Walk, ready for the start of the annual Dragon Boat Race.

Dragon Boat Racing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and with its appeal to community fundraising groups, and its visually exciting events, it’s clear to see why.  A Dragon Boat crew is made up of 16 paddlers, paced by a drummer at the bow and guided by a helmsman at the stern, who combine power and rhythm to achieve maximum acceleration and speed over a 250 metre course on the iconic River Ouse.

Now in its 20th year, York Rotary’s challenge event pitches companies and organisations against each other in a fun and exciting race, whilst highlighting and raising money for their chosen charity and York Rotary’s local, chosen charities.  It’s a great opportunity too for these charities to set up a stall with information, friendly conversation and maybe a tempting treat or two!  With race heats running from 10am – 3.30pm and the grand final at 4pm the event usually attracts local families and tourists in their thousands, and last weekend’s race didn’t disappoint.

With a group of friendly and enthusiastic volunteers on hand to help, we provided a wealth of information about the charity and our services to passers-by and race goers, and sold plenty of our Yorkshire Day raffle tickets, to raise money for Club Wilber.  We were also there to support our friends and sponsors at YO1 Radio who were racing as team ‘Rule the Waves’, raising money for us as their chosen charity.

YO1 Dragon Boat Race team on the water

With three teams racing in each heat, and three sections of heats, it was a packed race card, and the eventual winners, Tadcaster Trojans, were clear contenders from the start.  As Ellen pointed out, “the crew with the drummer that kept a strong beat, and the team shouted in time with them, performed the best”. 0 YO1 smashed their first heat, but unlike many of the other teams, didn’t perform as well in their second run out.  But in their third and final heat they were the clear winners again.

After all of the races were done, the fastest six times were taken, and the six best teams were called for the Grand Final.  It was no surprise when Tadcaster Trojans won overall, and additional trophies were given for The Best Dressed Team and Armed Forces Team, amongst others.

The glorious sunshine, the bunting and the yummy treats from ‘The Full Moo’ ice cream boat helped create a wonderful gala atmosphere and we had a great time meeting existing supporters of the trust, and new faces who wanted to know a bit more about us.  We love attending events like this and getting out there in the community and if we can raise awareness and much needed funds at the same time then it’s even better.

Thank you to all of those that stopped by to say hello or buy a raffle ticket and a BIG thank you to YO1 Radio who took to the water and proudly flew the flag for us and raised much need funds in doing so!

InSight Magazine – Q3 2022 Edition

Our latest edition of InSight is out now.

This edition includes:


InSight Q3 2022 Cover

Click here or the image above to read the latest edition of our InSight Magazine or click the links below to hear it recorded in an audio format:

  1. CEO’s Letter
  2. Wilberforce House – Staff Perspective
  3. Club Wilber Pizza Party
  4. Living & Learning Zone
  5. Volunteering
  6. Fundraising & Sponsorship
  7. YorSensory – Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much
  8. York Talking News Advertisement
InSight Magazine – Q2 2022 Edition

Our latest edition of InSight is out now.

This edition includes:


Click here or the image above to read the latest edition of our InSight Magazine.

Meet The Yorkshire Corker Founder, Scott Caul

We had a chat with Scott to learn about him and his fantastic creation, The Yorkshire Corker.

Tell us about yourself?
Well, I’m from Warrington originally and I came to York to study Physiotherapy, fell in love with the City and never left. I work as a Physiotherapist for York Hospital where I work intensive care and non-invasive ventilation. I’m a family man and as you’ve probably guessed I love to cycle!

So, what made you start? What gave you the idea to do the Yorkshire Corker?
I’ve been raising money for charity for a long time, before cycling it was running and triathlons. It all began with the London marathon when I was 18. I’ve also done an Iron Man and last August I cycled on a big, horrible steel 1950’s tandem bike from Land’s End to John o’ Groats with an empty seat representing those lost to Covid. I raised £5k for York and Scarborough Teaching Hospital, having been working on the front lines during the pandemic that meant a lot to me.

In terms of what made me start the Yorkshire Corker, well I love cycling and I wanted to get more people involved. I like people coming together and taking up things and there is nothing like being out in the countryside. York is wonderful for it, you can quickly be in the countryside, and you would be forgiven for thinking you’re in France, well in the summer perhaps.

Cycling is great for physical and mental health and I wanted to encourage this and get people to dig out their bikes.
Our aim from the start has been to RAISE, RIDE & INSPIRE:

You know there is nothing better than someone completing their first ever sportive and seeing the look on their face and that their families are proud of them.

Who is it for?
People of all ages and abilities – kids, people with disabilities, teens and adults. Last year a chap in his 80’s or 90’s participated and we have a regular e-biker. The 30-mile route is flat and safe for people with spinal injuries.

Who benefits this year?
This year funds will go to Wilberforce Trust, Spinal Injuries Association and York & Scarborough Teaching Hospital.

How long has the Yorkshire Corker been running now?
We started in 2017 so that’s 5 years now. The first event had about 35 riders and last year we were up to 150.

How has it changed over the years?
It’s just been getting bigger and better every year. It started off very amateur, we had manual timing (using a stop watch) and make shift stools etc. We’re still all volunteer run but we’re much more professional, it’s more of an event, we have more participants and we’re making more money for great causes.

2 years ago we started the free adapted balance bike fun for kids and those with a disability. Everybody’s Cycling provide the different ability bikes (hand-held, tricycle, fun bikes, disabled and peddle assisted bikes) and GoGet Riding provide the balance bikes.

Where do you see it going?
I want it to keep getting bigger and better every year. The goal I’ve set myself is to become the biggest sportive in Yorkshire within 10 years. In addition to the monies we raise for other causes we keep reinvesting to grow the event year on year. Ultimately our aim will remain the same, to RAISE, RIDE & INSPIRE.

Where did the idea of the drink measures come from?
I don’t know actually, I just thought it was a bit of fun.

What’s included?
You get a lot for your money! We’re a properly organised bike ride (it’s not a race but more about enjoyment) and we are governed by British Cycling, we follow their rules and stipulations, so we have all the appropriate signs and risk assessments. There’s medical support, full nutrition (food at all rest stops – sandwiches, crisps, fruit, chocolate, cakes, a variety of drinks including isotonic drinks and a free tea or coffee), chip timing, mechanical support (support vehicle on each of the rides – if you’re having problems with your bike you can try to have is fixed or chuck it on the van). There may be a t-shirt too but we’re not sure yet whether it will be this or something else as our regulars have accumulated quite a few!


For more details about the Yorkshire Corker 2022 and for details how to book tickets click here.

Santa Paws Was A Triumph But The Weather Was A Bit Wuff!

On Sunday 5th December we gathered on the Knavesmire together with York Rotary and York RSPCA, to raise funds for our work via lots of lovely dog owners.

Santa Paws Dog Walkers

We had 87 registered walkers with their dogs who braved the wind (which temporarily blew away our gazebos!) and intermittent rain to walk the 3.3k of the running track on the Knavesmire, raising nearly £700 in the process.

Wilberforce Trust Ambassadors William Wilberforce and Christina Gabbitas acted as judges for the best dressed dog, it was a strong field with many dogs dressed better than their owners.

A winner was selected in the form of the lovely whippet ‘Bear’ who received a parcel of goodies for dogs and a set of children’s books written by Christina. There were also three runners-up who all received a family ticket to the Hole in Wand Crazy Golf.

Winer Bear & Owner

One winner who was delighted with this was Sophie Halstead whose dog Otis looked splendid in his costume. Sophie said “Me and Otis loved attending Santa Paws 2021 raising money for some brilliant charities. Otis got presented with runner-up which was a family ticket to Hole in Wand’s Crazy Golf. As a family, we are really excited to have a fun afternoon of Harry Potter style golf to look forward to”.

Runner Up Dog - Otis

All in all everyone had a great day, we all had lots of fun raising money for for great causes, I hope we will see even more of you next year!

Jane Carter

Santa Paws Dog

InSight Magazine – Winter 2021 Edition

Our new Winter 2021 edition of Insight is out now!

This edition includes:

Click the image above to read the latest edition of our Insight Magazine.

Sarah’s Sportsperson’s Dinner Blog

As we walked up to the LNER Community stadium, I was filled with excitement to see for the first time the newly built York Knight’s Community Stadium. After a warm welcome from the town crier, we made our way down a hallway with large photo stands of thrilled Club Wilber children enjoying an array of exciting activities.

Club Wilber Display

After being greeted by a chatty sea of people, we headed to the bar for our complimentary glass of fizz! We took time to step back and take in our surroundings; a spacious room with commanding floor to ceiling windows and a luxury balcony running its length. We stepped out onto it and looked over the pitch where our very own Club Wilber ambassador, and York city Knight’s hooker Will Jubb, represents his proud club. As the night sky slowly darkened over the pitch, I had a feeling this would be a special evening.

With everyone enjoying being back in the company of their friends and colleagues, many took the opportunity to have a photo in front of our Club Wilber backdrop with hired photographer Nikki Bowling whilst the rest of us were kept enthralled by our entertainer for the evening, magic Dan (Dan Voakes), and his stunning tricks!

Magician Dan Voakes

As we took our seats at our tables we listened to the Wilberforce Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Phillipa Crowther and Head of Operations, Samantha Scholey. Their passion for the charity shone out through their speeches. Phillipa gave great insight into The Wilberforce Trust, speaking of the charity’s future plans and why Club Wilber is so important. Samantha spoke of how her role models influenced her career direction, and how having people to look up to can really shape our decisions and from a young age give us the courage to take the next step in our journey.

Autohorn were suitably recognised and thanked for their sponsorship before we were served a meal which tasted every bit as delightful as it looked! A starter of Leek and Potato soup preceded a main of roast chicken with cannellini beans, sundried tomatoes and wilted greens, all paired with a lovely white or red wine!

Wilberforce Trust’s Head of development, Jane Carter with the help of Nigel Limb ‘blindbloke racing’ led a game of sit down, stand up with a sports theme. We all had to strike a pose – hands out catching a ball, or arms outstretched miming a motorbike. Nigel was facing the wall and would then strike his pose, whoever didn’t match his was out, Will Jubb and the Mayor of York made the final four. The game resulted in a lot of laughter and some great photos, that without context, would have viewers questioning “what an earth are they up to?”

Sit down, stand up game with sports theme

It was then time to hear from our sporting Heroes. BBC Radio York’s Ellie Fiorentini spoke to Nigel Limb, Will Jubb, and Team GB goalball player Antonia Bunyan. Each sporting hero had their own moment to talk glowingly about their love for their sport and how their visual impairment has impacted them. They gave valuable advice to children and adults alike about not letting a visual impairment stand in the way of your hopes and dreams. The accounts were astonishingly honest, insightful, and raw. We cried, we laughed, and we were most definitely inspired.

Antonia, Will and Nigel

Guests hurriedly bought the last remaining raffle tickets. With prizes donated by Apple, The Ivy and The Marriott it’s no wonder the raffle was a hit! There was a sealed bid auction too, with some impressive signed sport memorabilia.

Our welcome third course arrived, a delicious eton mess lemon tart with raspberry mouse, topped with edible flowers! Tea and coffee with mints were enjoyed whilst guests chatted, networked, and enjoyed more wonderful tricks by a magician who was leaving us bewildered.

All too soon, the night came to a close. With grateful thanks to the hosts, our sponsors and some very inspirational speakers, the night was a huge success, raising vital funds to aid Club Wilber in the fantastic work it does.

After all these months of social distancing and cancelled plans, it has been so nice to finally have an event to get excited about. Although sad the night is over, I know this is just the start for our Club Wilber network and I can’t wait for more! If you came along, thank you for making the evening so enjoyable and supporting the great work that goes on at Club Wilber. For anyone who sadly could not make it, we really look forward to welcoming you to the next one!

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I’ll be sure to get a ticket for the next Club Wilber event!

Big Give Week Incoming

Are you considering making a donation to the Wilberforce Trust this Christmas?  If so, please can we ask you to consider making this donation during Big Give Week?  This week takes place from 30th November to 7th December and if you donate online on the Big Give platform, your donation will be doubled by our pledge partners.

We have a “Pledge Pot” of £6,000 which we can only access if we receive £6,000 of donations online during this week so your donation would be doubled giving us a fund which we can use to support children with visual impairments.  Our “With Young Sight Loss in Mind” project will support children to rebuild the confidence they have lost during lockdown and give them the opportunity to try new activities such as music therapy, drama therapy, art and eco-therapy.  Our Club Wilber parents tell us that they are worried that their children have lost so much of their self-esteem and feel reluctant to go out after so long in lockdown and with many of them shielding due to other underlying health issues.

I know that we can rely on your generosity at this season of giving and we will be in touch again with the details of how you can give online once the campaign starts.  If you would like to find out more about our project please see the link here.

YorSensory Yompers on Walking the Wilberforce Way

YorSensory Yompers is the self proclaimed name of three of our wonderful YorSensory ladies; Cathy, Fiona & Helen.

We caught up with Cathy and Helen to ask their reasons for participating in the walk and how they found it.

Why did you decide to participate?

Cathy: I have participated in the actual (none virtual) walk when the Trust has organised it in the past, but only completed a segment.  This time I was interested in completing the whole challenge on the back of doing a lot of walking from the beginning of Lockdown.  Although it was classed as virtual, I wanted to walk more of the segments and walked 4 new segments, including Pocklington Canal, where the Wilberforce Way crosses over the Wolds Way in the Market Weighton area (with Fiona) and from the Uni out towards Wheldrake (with Helen and Fiona).

Helen: I wanted to do something to support the trust which had a team element to it and would make me do more exercise, so kind of 3 in 1 reason for me!  I find the exercise very therapeutic too when general life is so busy, it makes me take some time out when I wouldn’t necessarily do this for myself.

Why did you want to support the trust?

Cathy: It was a good way to combine my new love of walking with raising money for the LLZ at our new HQ (Delta), which will eventually set up activities for people in York with sensory loss.  On the back of Covid-19 as a team we know how difficult and isolating it has been for individuals with sight and hearing loss.  I also enjoyed doing the challenge as part of a team with other Yorsensory members.

Helen: Working for the trust I see directly how our work supports individuals with both sight and hearing loss and wanted to do something to raise awareness of what we do at the same time as providing support through donations.

Wilberforce Way Pocklington Canal Walk

How was it?

Cathy: June was particularly hot so some of the walks were hard going, particularly the longest which was 9 miles combining two segments.  I also had the company of family and friends on some of my walks which was delightful.

Helen: Some days were easier than others, especially with young children at home.  I did a mix of long and short walks to fit in with everyday life, and it was great to meet up with Cathy and Fiona towards the end for a good 7 miler!

How was it as a team activity?

Cathy: It was an excellent activity to do with colleagues for a common goal, Fiona and I have walked in the past and plan to meet up for more in the future.

Helen: We kept each other updated on our progress.  Fiona even brought us some Kendal mint cake back from her walking adventures in the Lake District as energy food during the challenge! We sent each other little pictures of where we had been and it felt like a good team effort.

Fiona and Cathy wearing Wilberforce Way Walk tshirts

Feeling inspired to raise some money by a sponsored activity to support our services?  We’ve pulled together some fundraising resources here.

Trustee to run York 10K to raise funds for Club Wilber

You can support Charles here.

We gave Charles a call to get the inside scoop on how he feels about the upcoming run and learn a bit about his motivations.

Hi Charles, thank you for deciding to run for Club Wilber and for taking the time to talk with us about it.

You’re very welcome, it’s nice to help.

Why did you decide to become a trustee at the Wilberforce Trust?

My first involvement with the trust was when I was approached by an existing trustee for support with the tender process for the new build.  I helped out with the interview process and was very impressed with people from the trust and the things they talked about.  I didn’t’ realise at first, but later became aware that I had over the years known a couple of the trust’s residents who had attended my local church.  Having helped with the tender process it wasn’t long before I was asked if I would like to support the trust more widely and become a trustee.  I had previously worked as a director of a firm of specialist heritage contractors which went into administration, and after staying on in the new firm for a while, I was looking to do something more fulfilling outside the commercial world and give back and help in various ways.  I was fortunate enough to find a role in the Property Team that supports the Diocese of York in the Church of England and the trustee role fit well into that plan also.  It made a lot of sense to share my skills and expertise with the trust (being an organisation doing immense good) and the proximity of the new premises crystallised my decision.

What does Club Wilber mean to you and why did you decide to run for them?

I became aware of the great work that Club Wilber does through my role as a trustee.  Hearing about the fantastic activities that are organised to support and bring joy to those with visual impairments and their families is truly really heart-warming.  Club Wilber resonated with me because of the real sense of awareness its organisers have about what it is like to be a child with a visual impairment as well as the impact it has on a whole family.  It’s beautiful to see families and young people able to fit in and do things together, so it was really a no brainer that I would run to do what I could to support this.

Do you run regularly or is this outside your comfort zone?

Charles chuckles.
Yes and yes.  Over the course of my life I have run, for example I’m not a stranger to the odd run around the Knavesmire.  However the last time I attempted a stunt like this was back in 1986 when I ran the York half marathon.  Lockdown has actually motivated me to get out and run a bit more, particularly in times of the year that I previously would have avoided venturing out in a t-shirt and shorts.  So I suppose I have been pushing myself beyond my comfort zone a little.  I don’t expect to break any records, but I am really looking forward to it actually; that is when I’m not a little panicked at the possibility I may come in behind someone in penguin fancy dress or hopping backwards!

Do you have a favourite running playlist?

I’m afraid you’re not going to embarrass me that easily.  No I don’t actually listen to music when I run, I’m a bit spartan on that front.

Do you have any training tips for anyone else running the 10K?

Charles chuckles.
Yes!  Do train.

How are you keeping motivated?

You know it’s nice to have a personal challenge, but genuinely knowing that I am doing this for a good cause in Club Wilber is really what motivates me to keep training through the wind, rain and the recent stifling heat.

Great, well thanks again for everything and we wish you all the best in getting a time that you’ll be happy with!

Thank you.

Don’t forget you can sponsor Charles along with Pip (helps run Club Wilber) and Julia (parent of a Club Wilber child) here.