A BURSARY fund set up to honour a young Windermere sailor has reached its first target this week.

More than £20,000 has been donated by generous local people to pay for a cadetship in memory of tragic Michael Hanlon, who died doing his ‘dream job’ in the south of France earlier this year.

“The fund was set up in his name to sponsor talented youngsters wanting to pursue a career in sailing,” said mum Fiona Hanlon, of Kendal.

“We anticipated it would take a full year but I am thrilled that we reached our target of £20,000 last weekend.”

Michael, also known as Milo, was just 22 when he died and was part-way through his studies with the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA).

The money raised, through a combination of donations, sponsored events including a ‘pirate night’ at The Watermill, Ings, and the sale of Christmas cards with Michael’s own designs on, will now enable the academy to offer a place to someone unable to pay the fees.

“It has been a massive team effort,” continued Mrs Hanlon.

“We will be continuing to raise money for the fund and hope it will enable local budding sailors to follow in his footsteps as well as youngsters from further afield.”

Michael, who attended Queen Katherine School, Kendal, had worked at the Low Wood Bay as a watersports instructor before he began at the UKSA in Cowes.

As a schoolboy he won a Gazette competition to design the new ‘Spot the Dog’.

He embarked on a sailing career after leaving college and had been working on an ‘internationally-renowed yacht’, which had docked in Antibes, when his body was found in the water.

His death was treated as accidental.

An outpouring of grief from hundreds of local people followed his death – and Michael is to be honoured this weekend at the Comic Arts Festival, which is to be held in his name.

A fundraising ball will also be held at The Low Wood Hotel on April 4, next year, to mark the anniversary of his death and boost next year's award fund.

Emma Baggett at UKSA said: “We hope to start using this fund to help young people achieve their dreams in the coming months and hope that in a small way this will keep Milo's spirit and energy alive for a very long time to come.

“Milo remains a very strong presence here at UKSA.

“We have not forgotten him and his fellow cadets carry him with them on their continuing journeys.”