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Bridging Our Differences

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"Reading Gerry’s blog brings back some cold, wet and uncomfortable memories. It is such a relief when you clear Cape Horn and turn north." - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston…excerpt from personal message to Gerry during his solo circumnavigation).

"Gerry Hughes is a remarkable man… and whoever reads this book will be struck by his engaging personality and true courage. I first knew him as a student teacher… deaf, dedicated to others, and a role model. His achievements are now legendary, and this book provides a glimpse into the complex world of this remarkable man- sailor, teacher, ambassador for the deaf, and extraordinary human being." - Professor Bart McGettrick former Principal of St Andrew’s College, and Dean Emeritus of Education at Glasgow University.

"This account of Gerry Hughes’ journey to fulfil his sailing ambitions is a life enhancing read. His achievements on the sea and in teaching would be remarkable even for someone who is not profoundly deaf. Above all this book demonstrates to those of us who are not impaired that we should listen to the views of those are and not , however unintentionally , limit their aspirations  by imposing on them what we think is best." Raymond M Williamson, Former Lord Dean of Guild of Glasgow.

Gerry Hughes is the world's first deaf elite solo circumnavigator.  As a boy he struggled with basic literacy as a result of the oralist philosophy in deaf education that deaf children should be forbidden access to sign language and trained to listen and speak.   However, Gerry knew that education was the key to achieving his boyhood dream of sailing solo around the world. When Gerry joined Mary Brennan's  BSL Research Team at the University of Edinburgh, he not only discovered the possibilities that sign language offered him, he also found his true identity.  Since then Gerry has not only broken sailing world records,  received numerous  sporting awards  and honours, he is also a qualified teacher who has campaigned relentlessly  for the human rights of deaf children.  In 2014, The University of Glasgow awarded Gerry an  Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) in recognition of his contribution to education, disabled rights and sports.

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