An Ellesmere Port man will attempt to sail from North Wales to the Isle of Man in a small dinghy to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

Keith Darch, a keen sailor from Ellesmere Port, will brave the elements of the Irish Sea in his Laser 5000 17 ft dinghy next July - a challenge believed never to have been attempted before - in aid of the Amelia-Mae Foundation.

The charity was founded in memory of two-year-old Ameila-Mae from Flintshire who died in July 2013 from neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer.

Keith who has two children, Kayla, 10 and Amelia, three, hopes to raise £5,000 for the charity which supports families affected by the disease.

The Laser 5000 dinghy
The Laser 5000 dinghy

He explained: “Childhood cancer isn’t something I had thought much about before. I didn’t realise how many children were actually affected by cancer until a little girl my partner and I knew died of neuroblastoma.

“Her name was Lacey-Mae, she was only four years old.

“I work away quite a bit so I never had chance to meet her but I wish I had.

“After I heard about Lacey-Mae, I wanted to do something to try and raise awareness for all the children and families suffering from it.

“I want to be able to give them their final wish.

“I came across the Amelia-Mae foundation which was already set up, so I decided to take on something challenging for this charity.”

Keith Darch on his Laser 5000 dinghy that will cross the Irish sea to raise funds for the Amelia-Mae foundation
Keith Darch on his Laser 5000 dinghy that will cross the Irish sea to raise funds for the Amelia-Mae foundation

Keith will sail the high seas from Llandudno to the Isle of Man and back in 13 hours with crew member Reece Tomlinson, who has volunteered to help.

The challenge is extremely dangerous and the pair aim to make history by setting a new world record on the day.

Keith added: “Nobody has ever done this before.

“The Laser 5000 is only supposed to be used on a lake or on coastal waters so it’s not a case of if we will capsize, it’s a case of when so we will be doing a lot of swimming too.

“There is no engine on the boat, it is basically like a surf board on water so we are looking for someone who will be able to escort us on our journey to act as an escort boat and to rescue any of us should anything go wrong."

The Laser 5000 dinghy
The Laser 5000 dinghy

Keith has raised more than £1,400 through his Just Giving page so far, including £500 raised by the The Horse and Jockey Pub in Ellesmere Port.

He thanked Alan Norman of Mersey Print for supplying the Amelia-Mae Foundation logo stickers, Race Prepared for supplying a trapeze harness and energy supplements and Brady Developments for printing the Amelia-Mae foundation logos on the sails.

To donate, visit