SHE is a blind sailor from Southampton who is doing everything possible to helped people with disabilities.

Aly Gunn has defied her condition to go above and beyond to help her community.

Since losing her eyesight 14 years ago she has worked tirelessly helping people with disabilities find their way through sailing.

The 47-year-old from Millbrook has been an avid sailor since joining Lymington SailAbility and nowas the chairwoman, Aly is constantly pushing the boat out to help her cause.

This is why she has been nominated for the Daily Echo’s Community Star award.

The mother of two began to lose her eyesight while working as a district nurse in the New Forest and quickly joined the sailing club as a way to help others.

Now those who work with her say she is a true inspiration, having sailed solo around the Isle of Wight three times to raise money for boats and equipment, becoming the BBC community champion for her work seven years ago and she is also popular for booking the Princess Royal to attend club presentation events in Lymington.

Tom Morton, who is the vice-chairman at Lymington SailAbility nominated Aly for the award, he said: “She is a wonderful lady and people are so inspired by her work, Aly is always up for doing anything to support the charity and has helped so many people with disabilities.

“People are always shocked that she is blind because she has so much confidence that it seems like she can see, Aly is loved and admired by so many and after all her hard work fundraising to buy a boat, and defeating her own difficulties it would be lovely for her to have some recognition.”


THE Community Star campaign, in association with Aster, will run until Friday, August 22, when Daily Echo editor-in-chief Ian Murray, Aster’s regional director Jean Dalziel and their customer board member John Cockaday will choose the winners.

First place will receive £500 and £250 to a charity of their choice, second place will be given £250 and £100 for their chosen charity, then six highly commended nominations will be given £100 and £50 for charity.

A community star can be any member of the public who goes above and beyond to serve their community.

If you know a Community Star in Southampton, Winchester, Fareham, Eastleigh or the New Forest contact us at or ring 023 8042 4522.