Clipper Round the World Challenge


OceanStars :: Monday 7th September 2015 :: This Story

Clipper ChallengeTo follow Kate's progress please go to: round the world adventure

This is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other. With no previous sailing experience necessary, it's a record breaking 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht. All that is asked of participants is a good level of fitness, an age over 18 - and a thirst for adventure into the unknown. Divided into eight legs and 16 individual races, you can choose to complete the full circumnavigation or select individual legs. It is the only race in the world where the organisers supply a fleet of twelve identical racing yachts, each with a fully qualified skipper to safely guide the crew.

To support Ocean Stars through Kate's voyage please go to:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving. com/KateWhyatt

My Round the World Adventure

kate whyattLast December I made the decision to join the Clipper 15-16 race and to race around the world in a 70 ft racing yacht.  I had come to a time in my life where I needed a change in my day to day routine.  I was thoroughly enjoying my GP14 sailing, helping out with Sailability at Frensham on Thursdays and Saturdays, and volunteering for Ocean Stars Trust, a charity that works with children in Sri Lanka, but my heart was not in my work anymore and I felt that it was time to take a break.

Why sail around the world you may ask?  Because it's there, is one reason, but I also want to see the world from a different perspective.  I don't think I have appreciated the size of the planet as I have travelled around at 30,000 ft so it is time to really understand how large and powerful the earth is as I go around at mean sea level.  To experience sailing in the Southern Ocean, to watch the stars rise and set while on night watch, and to see the birds and sea life I have never seen before, are all reasons to make this trip.  Fewer people have sailed around the world than have climbed Mount Everest – this is my Mount Everest. 


What is the Clipper 15-16 race all about?  This is a bi-annual race that was first launched back in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, this one being the tenth.  The boats are a matched fleet of 70 ft ocean going vessels that have been specially designed to circumnavigate the world with an amateur crew.  The course takes the boats more than 40,000 nautical miles right around the world, from west to east, and crew can either sign up for the complete circumnavigation or for one or more of the eight individual legs.  This is a serious race and points are scored in a similar way to F1; 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc, with extra points for reaching a gate first, but also points deducted for, for example, rule infringements and equipment damage. 

On board the clipperThe skipper is a professional sailor and is responsible for guiding his/her amateur crew through the vagaries of the weather and sea states, and safely back to England.  Ages vary from 18 to 70+ years with a mix of men and women from all walks of life.  Amazingly, approximately 40% of those who sign up have never sailed before.  Now that needs courage!! 

As I travel the world I am hoping to raise money for two charities close to my heart, Ocean Stars Trust and Frensham Pond Sailability   To this end I have set up a Virgin Money Giving page and all donations will be split 50:50 between the two charities.  Please support this epic adventure, a journey that is going to take me 45,000 miles around the world over 11 months, that is going to challenge me both physically and mentally and that will, at times, be terrifying.

Finally, in order to keep friends and family informed as to what I am up to as I prepare for and take part in the race I am writing a blog, so please have a look at

John's Walk

This is just an appeal to help me through my Hadrian's Wall walk later this month.

OceanStars :: Tuesday 14th July 2015 :: This Story All,

This is just an appeal to help me through my Hadrian's Wall walk later this month. I'll be starting in Wallsend, Newcastle, on the morning of Thursday 23 July, and hopefully hitting Bowness-on-Solway, west of Carlisle, in the afternoon of Monday 27th July. Practice walks have thus far taught me lessons in the management of blisters, and joint pain, but contributions towards the Ocean Stars Trust will surely keep me going along the 84 mile route.

Here is the Just Giving page link, if you feel you would like to support me. Ocean Stars Trust is a Sri Lankan based charity established in the wake of the Boxing Day Tsunami, and I am a Trustee. This is my contribution to Fund Raising in the 10th Anniversary Year of the charity.

Apart from that...

    1.   Hope you enjoy the special-commissioned picture (Panama, shorts, boots, ill-chosen North Face).

    2.   I'm also celebrating forthcoming entry into a New Decade of Life, recent minor knee surgery, and kids fleeing the nest.



I'd be grateful for any support you could give.

           Many thanks




John's Hadrian's Walk complete!

Start of the WalkEnd of the Walk

"Well I made it in the time I allowed (4 nights and 5 days), walking from Carlisle on the final day across to Bowness-on-Solway on the only wet day I experienced. Just off the main street in Bowness is a little wooden Roman-style porch, from where you can look out to Scotland over the Solway Firth - this marks the end of the 84 mile trek.

It was a remarkable few days walking - by the river Tyne at first, and the Eden at the end. In between, farmland, treacherous high rocks, lakes, reservoirs, moorland, occasional villages and small settlements, uphill, downhill, cows and sheep, and a lot of people going West with me, and some coming East, and all with their stories to tell. Grateful thanks to my friends Jill and David for all their help, and to all of you who have donated to OST in response to those painful blisters on the soles of my feet! 

The Justgiving page remains open should anyone wish to donate further. If anyone would like to know more about walking what is a (surprisingly) new full trekking route, then please do get in touch."

John Bunter, Treasurer, OST.

Yasmin visits Ocean Stars Projects

I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to travel back to Sri Lanka and spend some time visiting the different projects that Ocean Stars Trust supports.

OceanStars :: Tuesday 14th July 2015 :: This Story

Yasmin visiting OST Sri LankaIt had been 6 years since my last visit and so I was able to see how the charity’s work has progressed over that time. The work of Ocean Stars has grown considerably since my last visit and it is clear to see how much of a difference the charity to makes to the lives of many Sri Lankan children.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend 3 days at Mahadeva Children’s Home in the heavily remote and poor area of Killinochi. It was a humbling experience to spend time with these children who have lost one or both parents during the civil war. The children have very little possessions to call their own, a lot of them undoubtedly have had tough upbringings during the war. Despite this, the children seem happy and playful,  and there is a real community feel about the home.  They look out for each other like one big family. The Children’s home is also very impressive in the fact that they grow almost all of their food onsite, which will hopefully one day lead to the home becoming completely self-sufficient. For now, it is clear they benefit from the help of Ocean Stars, with 2 nursery schools already having been built by the charity.

We also spent a week in Batticloa with the Ocean Stars Lanka team. It was great to visit the a small number of the numerous nurseries Ocean Stars supports, which enables the children to get valuable pre-school education. Diana organizes and leads her team very successfully and is respected by the nursery school teachers. Kitika and herself also have a special relationship with the children and are very hands-on during the visits to the nurseries. It is a wonderful sight to see all the children at the nurseries neatly wearing their Ocean Stars uniforms and carrying their OST rucksacks. Ocean Stars Trust should be very proud of all the work they have achieved in this area of the country.


Tim visiting OST Sri LankaTim Rubke reports on his first visit to Ocean Stars in Sri Lanka

This was my first, but hopefully not my last visit to this beautiful country. During my time in Sri Lanka, I had the privilege to get a close look at some of the different projects in Trincomalee and Batticaloa and was amazed by the work OST has done in these areas. 

Through OST's help, many children get the chance to make something out of their lives by educating themselves and build a new future for their families.

I wish OST all the best for the future and hope for another ten years of life-changing work. 


June 2015 Newsletter

Ocean Stars Trust 2015 - Ten Years On

OceanStars :: Monday 22nd June 2015 :: This Story

OST Chair John Bunter writes about “Moving On”, in the Spring of 2015…

It was on 21 April 2005 that four of us, Dilanee, Jo Barton (Secretary-elect), Shona Holroyd (Treasurer-elect) and myself, met to discuss about setting up a charity in the aftermath of Dilanee’s “Mercy mission” to Sri Lanka a month before. Looking at the Minutes of that meeting, amongst our Agreed Actions were to

a) Apply for Charity Status
b) Explore means of gaining more funds
c) Report from her SL visit by Dilanee
d) Research organisations to whom we could present our new Charity.

This was the beginning of a fascinating journey for all of us, including Trustees, donors, recipients of our donated funds, and for those in Sri Lanka who have gained employment through us. I am not sure we actually visualised where we would be “Ten Years On”... We marked “TYO” with a fundraising “Party” on 21 March in Fleet, which I am sure many of our readers will remember as a pleasant evening, with a bit of entertainment, a bit of OST news, a speech or two, good (all donated) refreshments, music and pictures, and a time to meet and chat. From the Trustees’ point of view, it was great to meet with many of our donors and friends from over the years. I was able to report in my words of welcome how the Trustees had just completed a very professional-looking “Away Day” conference to discuss “Where Next for OST?” So… we are moving on from the strapline “Rebuilding Shattered Lives” to “Empowering Children in Sri Lanka”.

Readers will appreciate that OST has moved on from just funding Capital projects, to now establishing pre-schools, paying their teachers, and continuing with a range of child sponsorship. We are now also moving forward, as we agreed on our February Away Day, towards building the capacity of OSL (Ocean Stars Lanka, our Batticaloa- based office) so they begin to be self-supporting, and gain their own charitable income. Again, readers will have observed over the years of this Newsletter the many different activities of OST. But be assured that we are indeed always thinking on how the Charity should be progressing. John Bunter Chair, OST

Download the full June 2015 newsletter here


The Fleet Rock Choir, Raffle, Refreshments, Calthorpe Park School Samba Band

OceanStars :: Wednesday 10th June 2015 :: This Story

Fleet Rock Choir ConcertWHENFRIDAY 26th JUNE 2015

WHERE: Church on the Heath, The Key, Fleet, Hampshire GU51 1HA

WHAT TIME: 7.45 PM Start

WHAT’S ON OFFER: The Fleet Rock Choir, Raffle, Refreshments, Calthorpe Park School Samba Band

COST: £10, OAP £5.00 and Families £25.00 (2 Adults + 2 children)

Fabulous fundraisers!

Kate is off around the world, Aidan and James are walking 100km and OST Bike riders are off on their wheels again!

OceanStars :: Monday 18th May 2015 :: This Story

Click on the poster to see the full details!

London to Brighton & Farnham Charity Bike Ride




Please follow Kate on:


To Donate please go to:

8th Curry Night Success

Ocean Stars Trust held their 8th Curry Evening on Saturday 9th May @ Fleet Methodist Church.

OceanStars :: Monday 18th May 2015 :: This Story

70 people attended this annual event which raised £665.00 for our ongoing work. There were many delicious curries on offer and John returned with his annual quiz. We also had a Birthday cake to mark the 10 years of Ocean Stars. OST would like to thank everyone who supported our curry evening.


October 2015 half-term trip to Sri-Lanka Update

The team have been busy fundraising for the October half-term trip to Sri-Lanka in which 15 students will be travelling to Batticaloa and working with students and families affected by the Tsunami.

OceanStars :: Friday 8th May 2015 :: This Story

October group

This year's fundraising events have involved a bake sale and on Saturday 2nd May, the team did a bag packing fundraising event in Waitrose in fleet to raise much needed funds for the charity Ocean Stars.  The team raised an amazing £625.52 which will be used directly during the trip to fund projects which will help young people in educational projects.

In the classroomBag Packing

Another fundraising event brought about by Mrs Haynes this year is to recycle old clothes, belts and shoes through the RagBag scheme and students have been collecting their unwanted goods which will be weighed and sent off as affordable second hand clothing.  This is a great scheme and we can get £400 per tonne of clothing for the charity so please help turn out unwanted items!

The team is also taking part in this year's London to Brighton bike ride where we plan to cycle the 52 miles and many students and parents are taking part in the gruelling cycle ride.  To sponsor the team, please visit our JustGiving page to make a donation:

If you would like any more information about how to help or get involved in the Ocean Stars charity, please speak to Mrs Angel or Mrs Haynes.

Busy time visiting projects in April!

Founder Dilanee and Chair John visited almost all OST activity in April and found all projects pretty shipshape and in good order.

OceanStars :: Friday 8th May 2015 :: This Story

John and Dilanee and the new pre-school building

Let's divide it into 3 phases.

Phase 1 was the long trek to the North of the island to the Mahadeva Achchirama Children's Home in Kilinochchi. Here under the guiding hand of Chairman Mr Rasanayagam some 400 children are being nurtured. OST had provided funds for a second classroom for the burgeoning numbers of pre-school children. A lavish Opening Ceremony was laid on in our honour, with speeches and colourful dancing, and we left in good heart, knowing that we had contributed more to this needed safe haven for young people.

Phase 2 took us southeastewards to Trincomalee. Our colleague on the ground Janapdeen took us to the Vellamainail playgroup and we took some new photos of the many sponsor children there. A very happy bunch of pre-school children here, splendid in their tartan uniforms and OST shirts. At Janapdeen's lunch we had a fascinating talk about the present political situation in Sri Lanka, since the change of government. best to get it from the horse's mouth!

Phase 3, and next, and our longest stop, in Batticaloa. It was coming up to schools' closure, because of the Sri Lankan New Year, but we had time to visit a new Secondary Partner School for Calthorpe Park School, the partner school of Connaught School, Bagshot (delighted with their gift of lighting for the school), and one or two playgroups, including formally opening one of these - the Barathi - which we had just helped to complete.  Our Ocean Stars Lanka team, Diana, Bavan and all, had also assembled a number of people here to receive gifts from our Catalogue. To add to the two boats we'd donated in Trincomalee, we gave another to a family in Batticaloa: also lined up for us to present were a number of sewing machines, chickens, and bicycles.  We thank our donors in the UK for being so generous to make real differences to these families.

The OST projects in North and Eastern Sri Lanka are therefore, we can report, in good health. It is clear however that there are further calls on our generosity: sponsoring a teacher, securing funds to rebuild a delapidated pre-school building, and ever more children in need of sponsors.

Our workers, children and teachers are all looking forward to the next visit in October!


Pre-school roomsFamilies


Group PhotoNew boat

Tsunami charity's Star still rises, 10 years after tragedy

A Fleet charity formed in response to the devastating tsunami that claimed more than 30,000 lives in Sri Lanka, is all set to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

OceanStars :: Saturday 4th April 2015 :: This Story

Fleet Charity Ocean Stars

The Ocean Stars Trust (OST) will mark the special milestone in its short but momentous history with a fundraising party on Saturday March 21.

Sponsors, supporters and friends of OST will look back on the decade since the charity was founded in the wake of the tragic Indian Ocean tsunami of Boxing Day 2004.

Devastation of 2005 Tsumami Working with children in Sri Lanka for 10-years

Dilanee Bunter, who was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in Fleet, was determined to 'give something back' after the disaster, which killed around 35,000 people and displaced around 500,000.

She collected money, along with 50 pairs of children's shoes, from friends and family to take to her homeland in Easter 2005.

Some of the devastation that greeted Dilanee Bunter on her visit to Sri Lanka in 2005 following the Boxing Day tsunami

By the spring of that year, with the help of people in the Fleet area, the Ocean Stars Trust was born with a board of around seven trustees who had the continuing mandate to 'rebuild shattered lives'.

With a special focus on education and children in eastern Sri Lanka, the trust set up a child sponsorship scheme and a programme of supporting and building new pre-schools where previously none existed.

In 2013, OST also began a cultural exchange for pupils from Fleet's Calthorpe Park School, while several links have also been formed between infant, junior and secondary schools.

Mrs Bunter said: "From very small and innocent beginnings, Ocean Stars Trust is now a leading Sri Lanka-based charity. This has only been achieved with the hard work of trustees and enormous goodwill of friends and supporters."

Full Artical by By Stephen Lloyd 07:52, 17 March 2015