Surfing for all at Benone beach as charity helps disabled people enjoy the summer water

Sea, sand and surf - all the elements of a glorious day on the north coast. 

Fun in the sun however can often be taken for granted.

For those who are socially isolated or excluded due to age, disability or medical condition a trip to the beach can be a huge undertaking.

But at Benone beach that’s changed due to the help of the Mae Murray Foundation. 

Bill McIntyre has been coming to the beach to use the facilities for around four years. 

“I’d an accident 40 years ago and ended up in a wheelchair and I was coming to the beach but I couldn’t get into the water. Since the Mae Murray Foundation came along I can use the chairs and get into the water.

“It’s hard to explain but you feel so free in it. I love the sea and I love the water so it’s brilliant to get back to it.” 

The charity is helping people across Northern Ireland enjoy life’s simple pleasures. 

Kyleigh Lough told UTV that over 1,000 people have been able to get to the beach this year that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. 

“We’re having families tell us they’re getting to the beach for the first time and it’s not just children, it’s adults as well who haven’t been able to get to the beach since infancy.” 

“Our surf events are fully booked out but the beach chairs, the floating chairs, they ensure you go out into the water.

“We have availability for those chairs at all our beaches that have RNLI crews and there is also land based equipment as it can be quite cold!” 

Every budding surfer dreams of catching a great wave to make the trip extra special. 

Thirteen year old Emma Adamson said her favourite part of surfing is “putting my hand in the water” when she’s travelling past a wave. 

“I love doing it, it’s so much fun.” 

Meanwhile Leah Morton isn’t perturbed by the chill of the water. 

“Whenever you have a wetsuit on it’s not too bad. 

“Sometimes the waves come over your head but you do get used to it."

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