A charity which allowed hundreds of disabled children and adults as well as the elderly to experience the joy of sailing has folded.

Founder Ged Doran said there is no longer the same demand for the yacht, Solway Adventurer, and it and its assets will now be given to the Isle of Man disability vessel, Pride of Man.

Mr Doran said that as well as a lack of demand, he had been unable to focus on the charity – Solway Adventure Sailing, formerly Sailability – for some months due to personal reasons.

His father Ged, 91, went missing earlier this year, sparking a huge search by police and more than 200 members of the public. His body was eventually found between High Harrington and Workington.

Mr Doran said: “I found it difficult to concentrate on the charity and handed it over to someone else to run. But it has run its course.”

The charity was inspired by the Isle of Man group, Pride of Man.

“I didn’t really appreciate at the time the amount of hard work involved in raising £100,000 to buy the yacht and that was really just for starters. There would be insurances, mooring fees and more.”

The first donation received was from occupants of a house he was working on in Whitehaven. Events were held, a Lottery grant awarded and the boat was bought.

The vessel was moored at the Maryport Marina and he thanked marina boss Pauline Gorley and all those who helped over the years.

Mr Doran, said the charity holds a special place in his heart.

“It has been over 17 years since the charity was formed and it will always leave me with some special memories,” said Mr Doran.

“There were a couple of disabled people who wanted to sail but couldn’t because they were in wheelchairs. We made it possible by training to lift them aboard with the boom.”

"Kids affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster visited the yacht in 2005. One young lad had fell asleep on the coach and was left behind. As I was walking past the coach I heard footsteps coming down the coach steps, this little boy had tears in his eyes. I couldn’t speak Russia, he couldn’t speak English but he just took hold of my hand, then I had a tear in my eye too.

“We were told some of those children would not live until adulthood. I still get a tear thinking about it.”

He also played tribute to the young carers from Netherhall School in Maryport who helped on one trip and discovered they were coming back from Kirkcudbright in 45 to 50 knot winds with a woman who suffered from motion sickness.

“There are so many memories. It is sad to see the charity go but there is just no demand now.”