COWDENBEATH MSP Annabelle Ewing said the arrival of the Wheelyboat at Lochore Meadows Country Park will give people with people with disabilities the chance to enjoy the country park's magnificent loch.

The new powerboat, a Coulam Wheelyboat V20, will allow the Scottish charity, Fife Sailability, to expand their activities at the Lochore Meadows sailing loch, enabling wheelchair users and people with any kind of impairment to participate in and enjoy the power and pleasure of boating.

Cowdenbeath MSP, Annabelle Ewing, was the guest of honour at the launch, participating in the official Wheelyboat naming ceremony which took place at the Lochore Meadows Outdoor Education Centre.

“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been invited to be guest of honour and participate in the naming ceremony for this new boat” commented Ms Ewing.

“Accessibility has been a very important part of the development of Lochore Meadows and this new boat brings that access-for-all ethos onto the water. Well done to everyone at the Wheelyboat Trust and Fife Sailability and I wish everyone involved many happy times aboard.”

Designed by Andrew Wolstenholme and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is 20 feet long and 7½ feet wide.

It has an open, spacious and level cockpit (90² ft), with roll-on, roll-off access via a watertight bow door that lowers to form a ramp. Its drive-from-wheelchair console enables people with the severest of disabilities to drive the boat themselves. Also, seating for ambulant people is flexible and fixing points on the floor secure less-independent wheelchair users in place if required.

Formed in 2012, Fife Sailability is a membership club which also works with Special Educational Needs schools, homes and hospices, as well as disabled individuals and their families from across Fife, Perth and Kinross, The Lothians and Clackmannan. They currently operate a fleet of specially adapted sailing boats for individual use, or with a qualified instructor, but they are operating at full capacity. The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 has the capacity of ten adults including six wheelchair users, and will also offer every sailor a whole new set of boating experiences and skills to enjoy and learn as part of the nationwide accredited RYA Sailability programme.

Merrick Yates, co-Founder and past chairman of Fife Sailability said: “This Wheelyboat will change everything for participants in Fife.

"Our Sailability centre has never been busier and our new Wheelyboat will significantly enhance our capability of meeting the needs of the growing number of users who will benefit so much from access to the Scottish waters. Just imagine what it must be like for someone who is dependent on a wheelchair to be driving the Wheelyboat across the loch at 30mph!”