'Sip and Puff’ sailor Natasha 'Miss Isle’ Lambert’s fundraising efforts reached the £10,000 milestone, with the teenager saying a huge ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who has supported her so far, as she resumed her Sea and Summit Challenge sailing from Exmouth to Dartmouth today (Monday 28 July).
But, the 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet, is only four legs into her 12 leg sailing challenge, before she swaps her boat for her special Hart Walker to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain, and she is still desperate to hit her target of £15,000 before the end of her month-long challenge.
Through the Sea and Summit challenge Natasha is raising money for the RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the RYA Foundation, as well as the profile of sailing for people with disabilities.
Having enjoyed her first rest day with a tour of the RNLI Exmouth Lifeboat station yesterday, including seeing its pioneering Shannon class lifeboat, Natasha was back on the water for the shortest leg of her trip so far, 18 miles into Dartmouth.
She completed the leg in four-and-a-half hours before being welcomed into Dartmouth by the Dart RNLI inshore lifeboat, Anne Bailey from Dart Sailability and the The Rotary Club of Dartmouth. Natasha also received a rousing cheer from around 40 youngsters out sailing dinghies as part of the Royal Dart YC’s summer holidays activities programme.
When she came ashore Natasha was presented with a cheque for £400 by Peter Goldstraw from The Rotary Club of Dartmouth, raised amongst its members, in the latest show of goodwill from well-wishers and supporters to take Tash two-thirds of the way to her fundraising target with arguably the toughest tests of the challenge still ahead.
Mum Amanda said: "It was very nice of the people at Rotary to present Tash with a cheque for £400. There are a lot of generous people out there, and having reached £10,000 already we’re hoping to get to our £15,000 target before we finish.
"Hopefully people will continue to support Tash as they have been, both in person as we have gone round and online, it’s been really amazing the kindness people have shown so far. It does mean so much to Tash to know she is able to help other people in this way because she has so much help from people.
“The sun was shining on us today, even though we were following the rain. We only had one shower as we got to the mouth of the river. The breeze was good some of the time, though a bit light at others. Again we had such a lovely welcome and the children taking part in the Royal Dart YC’s sailing week giving Tash a big cheer and clap was fantastic!”
This week Natasha is scheduled to sail from Dartmouth to Salcombe and Salcombe to Plymouth, then having a short rest period before heading into Cornish waters and some of her sternest sailing challenges yet. This evening she is the guest at a special reception being held for her at the Royal Dart YC.
Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet - a month-long project sailing her specially-designed 21ft yacht, Miss Isle Too, single-handed around the South West coast of England to Wales before the Pen y Fan climb. In total she will sail around 430 miles and climb 2,907ft.
Sailing has been Natasha’s big love since she first went on holiday with the Calvert Trust aged nine. She then started sailing at home and spent two years sailing with the Even Keel Project and her local RYA Sailability. Last year she sailed across the English Channel, and in 2012, the 50-miles around the Isle of Wight.
RYA Sailability is the national programme providing people with disabilities opportunities to learn to sail and sail regularly.
How can I support Miss Isle?
Whether you want to send Natasha messages of support or would like to donate to her fundraising there are a number of ways to get involved:
Facebook: Miss Isle Community