Skip to main content

Transforming lives through sailing

Our Participant Stories: Milly Lindup

Milly is 17, lives with her Mum and 4 younger siblings. She studies at college and works part time for the Andrew Simpson Centre Portsmouth as a watersports instructor. 

When Milly was 11 years old, she was a keen swimmer, training 6 hours a day, before and after school. Although she loved swimming, it was exhausting and taking up all her time and energy. In addition, she was really struggling at school academically and with friendships, and her mental health wasn’t good.  

One of Milly’s teachers suggested that she try the PSTT program. Milly was a bit cautious about it, as she had never done any watersports other than swimming, but she decided to give it a go. 

When Milly started the program she was nervous, as some of the other students were older and had experience of sailing and doing other watersports. However, the instructors at PSTT were great and helped her realise her potential. She loved the two-year PSTT program and fell in love with watersports, particularly windsurfing.  

Milly was then selected for a winter windsurf training program. This involved windsurfing training and competitions. In 2022, Milly was selected for the international competition – the Windsurfing Europeans and competed in Sardinia and loved it! 

As soon as she turned 15, Milly started volunteering at ASC Portsmouth and trained over the summer to be an Assistant Dingy and Windsurfing Instructor. This was all part of the Charitable Programs at ASC Portsmouth and was funded by the Andrew Simpson Foundation

When Milly turned 16 she did her Windsurfing Instructor qualification, followed by her Dinghy Instructor course a few months later. Since then, Milly has been working part-time as an instructor at ASC Portsmouth, coaches for the RYA windsurfing Regional Training Group and is doing a two-year diploma in Sports Coaching and Development. 

Milly likes teaching the younger kids and people her age mostly.

‘Some young people give up easily, but that’s due to fear. I was just like that! I just take them back to basics and reassure them that they will be able to do it in time, and they can.  

One of the Young people I am coaching for the RYA I actually taught to windsurf from scratch when he was really young! Now he’s 11 and is training for competitions. I feel proud of this. It’s nice working with the younger sailors. They get excited and feel proud of themselves when they achieve something, and that is rewarding. It’s like I’m giving back for what people did for me and gave me. 

I would say to young people struggling at school: give it a go, trust the instructors. I struggle to trust people, but here (PSTT and ASC Portsmouth) they’re so good and help you all the way. 

When Milly finishes her college course, she hopes to gain full-time employment as a watersports instructor to help young people get out on the water, just like she did.  

Milly Lindup, ASF Participant

We couldn’t be prouder of Milly and everything she has achieved over the past 6 years; she has worked so hard to get to where she is and has achieved it all so quickly at such a young age.  

Milly couldn’t have done this without the support of the instructors who taught her and without the funding that enabled her to do the PSTT program and then the ASC charitable programs.  

It is essential that we keep supporting amazing young people like Milly to realise and their potential and follow their dreams. 

What is the best thing about sailing and watersports for you?  

The freedom of being out on the water. Even if you have had a bad day, you forget about it all when you’re out on the water. School was hard, I struggled with my mental health, and I wasn’t academic. But when you’re out on the water it really helps you deal with all of that.  

Have you made friends whilst sailing? 

Yes, loads. I really struggled to make friends at school, but here it is easy. We have a passion for watersports and a love for the freedom of being out on the water in common. 

What opportunities have you had through sailing and watersports and do you think you will have in the future? 

I have had so many opportunities: 

  • Finding windsurfing. 
  • Making new friends.  
  • Competing in the European Windsurfing Competition in Sardinia in 2022.  
  • Getting all my qualifications. 

For the future I want to teach watersports and show kids like me that they can do it too. Hopefully employers will recognise how invested I am in achieving this and will employ me! 

Were you nervous about trying sailing and watersports initially?  

Yes! It was something new that I had never done. Some of the other people in my PSTT class had sailed before and I hadn’t, so I was worried I’d hold them back. 

What would you say to someone else who is thinking about trying sailing?  

Give it a go, trust the instructors. I struggle to trust people, but here they’re so good, and it wasn’t that hard.  

What are your dreams for the future?  

To be an instructor in all watersports, especially windsurfing. Also coaching for the RYA in windsurfing Regional Training Group, I want to keep doing this, as it is really rewarding.  

One of the children I am coaching I actually taught to windsurf from scratch when he was really little, and now he’s 11 and I’m training him for competitions. I feel proud of this.  

I also love working with the younger sailors; they get really excited and proud of themselves when they achieve something at sailing. Seeing that is really rewarding. It’s like I’m giving back what people did for me and gave to me. 

What are your thoughts & emotions when you are sailing? 

I feel free. It is peaceful and relaxing. If you’ve had a bad day, it clears your head. 

Milly Lindup, ASF Participant and Windsurf Instructor