A CAMPAIGN to help needy sailors has wind in its sails after winning the backing of a record-breaking yachtsman.

Geoff Holt MBE, Yachtsman of the Year and the first quadriplegic sailor to cross the Atlantic solo last year, says he’ll be donning his beanie for the Sailors’ Society’s Woolly Hat week.

Starting today, the shipshape challenge is to sport a woolly hat at work and collect donations for the Southampton based charity dedicated to the sailors’ welfare.

During his epic solo voyages on the high seas, Geoff is well used to the sight of merchant ships as well as welcome radio contact with their crew.

Geoff, who lives in Botley, said: “Merchant seamen are an invisible workforce out there, right now, plying all the oceans of the world, so we can have food on our table and clothes on our backs. It’s a tough, lonely and often dangerous job.

I'd encourage us all to show we are thinking about these men and women by wearing a woolly hat and helping to raise money for their charity.”

Earlier this week Southampton Port boss Doug Morrison backed the scheme because he sees first hand the good work the charity does by visiting ships tied up in the docks.

“Many sailors come from warmer climates so it is fitting that by wearing your woolly hat and supporting the society with donations you are acknowledging their crucial part in our lives.’’ To find out more about Woolly Hat Week, email woollyhats@sailors-society.org or call (023) 8051 5950.