Duran Duran Frontman Simon Le Bon Visits Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to Launch Partnership with the Tall Ships Youth Trust

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AS RIO danced on the sand in the 1983 music video by Duran Duran, the band’s frontman Simon Le Bon raced through the ocean on board a yacht. A keen sailor, he assumed that position again on Thursday – as he pledged his support for a Portsmouth charity dedicated to getting disadvantaged youngsters out on the water. Over the past year alone, the Tall Ships Youth Trust has supported more than 1,200 young people who face behavioural, emotional, social or learning difficulties, as well as hearing or visual impairments. And yesterday, Simon Le Bon announced his support for the cause by joining a group of them on a three-hour voyage through the Solent. ‘This is a wonderful pastime. It’s a way of getting away from the computer screen and it teaches you to have a purpose, to be independent but also a crucial part of a team,’ Mr Le Bon said.

‘I hope my work with the Tall Ships Youth Trust creates the opportunity for individuals to undertake even more adventures, opening up valuable chances to learn life skills and set them on a good path in life.’ Mr Le Bon said it was ‘an easy choice’ to partner with the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which has helped 117,000 trainees sail 2m nautical miles since it was founded in 1956. There to meet him yesterday was 17-year-old Santo Lewis, from West Sussex, who has been a volunteer for the cause for the past three years.

He said: ‘The charity has changed my life. I’ve learned to sail, I now have self-esteem and I know what it’s like to be an important part of a team. ‘It was very exciting to get to meet Simon today and to show him what we do here.’ Always looking to fundraise, bosses at the Tall Ships Youth Trust, based at The Hard, hope Mr Le Bon’s backing can help bring more vital cash over time. But his mission got off to a ‘wonderful’ start yesterday, according to vice-chairman, Dick Melly.

He said: ‘He has the reputation of a popstar but he proved to be a real people person today. If the youngsters didn’t know Simon Le Bon before, they certainly do now.’ To donate to the charity, visit this website.

Courtesy Portsmouth News