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Radlett mother to sail around the world
A mother of two from Radlett who had never sailed 18 months ago is gearing up to take on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in aid of Children in Need.
Lesley Johnson will taking part in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, an event that gives amateur crew members the chance to sail around the world.
Crew members can either sign up for the whole race, or one or more legs. Ms Johnson will be racing as part of Team GB taking part in leg seven of the race. She will cast off from San Francisco on April 10 and finish in New York on June 9.
With only very limited sailing experience, she has had had three and a half weeks intense training in the Channel.
The 53-year-old said: "For years I’ve wanted to learn to sail. I am very nervous about the race, but doing it for such a worthwhile cause makes it all worth it.
"I hope to raise £5,500 which would be £1 for every nautical mile sailed."
Ms Johnson, who works at BBC Worldwide, found out about the race after seeing a poster at Radlett station.
She continued: "This is the first time I’ve done anything like this. I haven’t looked back since signing up.
"Training has been really tough, there are hard moments of self doubt but the team spirit really pulls people through. We will be there to support each other in the darkest times.
"It is a good time for me to take a personal challenge. I am excited.
"We will be sailing 24/7. I know that at those horrible 3am wet and cold moments when I am tired I will remember what I am raising money for and it will give me the edge to carry on."
Ms Johnson, who lives in Upper Station Road, will be away for two months – the longest time she will have spent at sea.
She said: "It is daunting knowing how big the ocean waves can be. I am not sure how it will feel yet. Fortunately I haven’t had any sea sickness so far. The only time I have been queasy is when I’ve spent 24-hours below deck on cooking duty.
"Of course I’m nervous though with the element of danger. But my biggest concern is making sure I am a valuable team member. I don’t want to let people down.
"Nothing will put me off though and although it is scary it is very exciting and I cannot wait to take the challenge and raise money for such a great cause."
To date Ms Johnson has raised £1,400. She can be sponsored at: www.justgiving.com/lesleyjohnson61
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