Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sailing Across The Channel

Yesterday, a 33 year old woman sailed across the English Channel. A 22 mile stretch of water that has kept the UK reasonably independent for the past 1000 years. People sail this water every day of the week. An Amarda of boats, no less, cross the Channel all the time.

Well, this woman did it solo. So what? a fair proportion of those sailing across the Channel do it solo. So why am I spending time and bytes on this when I could be talking about myself?

Well Hilary Lister is quadriplegic. She suffers from a degenerative disease, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and over the years it has progressed from her ankles and up through her body to her neck. I just can't imagine what that must be like, and I'm not sure if I could have coped as she has. She described herself as a "sporty" person who lived an active life, enjoying canoeing, swimming, rugby (good girl) and hockey. She only took up sailing 2 years ago to boost her self-confidence!

The voyage took six and a half hours, and she did it by using 2 straws which she sucked and blew down to control the rudder and sails. When she got to France her comment was: "I am just thrilled." I bet she was, and I bet all those who supported her from her husband Clifford through to her sailing instructors and those who just helped in any way they could were just as thrilled. I'm thrilled for her.

What a magnificent advert for the Human Spirit.

She summed up her reason for doing it so publicly, was to demonstrate to all, that the disabled "... do not need wrapping up in cotton wool, and can go out and do silly or dangerous things if that's what we want to do." Hilary said on TV this morning that everyone can acheive their dreams. I believe her.

She plans to sail around Britain next. I for one wish her all the luck in the world.

One other thing of note yesterday was that I had my second interview for a position at J D Williams. That interview took about half the time it took for Hilary to sail across the Channel - and I was exhausted!



sandegaye said...

Hi Mark! I actually was allowed onto your blog today.. maybe there's hope after all!
This was a lovely post.. enjoyed it.

Mark said...

Welcome Back.