Autism on the Water
1636. Murray MacDonald
Murray MacDonald, from Oban, is a sailing enthusiast who founded ‘Autism on the Water’, a community that improves access to sailing for autistic people.
Murray was diagnosed with autism when he was seven years old, and found that sailing helped him with his confidence, problem-solving and social skills. He set up ‘Autism on the Water’ to help other autistic people benefit from access to sailing, holding regular sessions on the water, such as along Crinan Canal in Argyll, as well as participating in races and regattas to raise awareness for people living with autism. While the pandemic has seen many of their activities restricted, Murray has continued to remain active in the service of others, delivering shopping and homemade soup to his local community by bike.
In a personal letter to Murray, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Congratulations on the success of ‘Autism on the Water’. With you at the helm, your charity has done so much to help people with autism enjoy the delights of sailing.
“I remember visiting the ‘Tenacious’ in Greenwich many years ago and seeing the special adaptations to assist those of all physical abilities get out on the water. I am similarly in awe of what you do to open up sailing clubs to people with autism.”
“Wow that was very unexpected! I am so touched and honoured! It’s honestly my pleasure to do what I do with ‘Autism on the Water’ and to be recognised in this way is just amazing. I am very grateful.”