Not content to be a School Governor and local Borough Councillor, I decided to sign up for something that appears on the face of it, to be completely insane!
I am signed up as a Crew Member for Leg 8 of the 2017-2018 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.
Leg 8 is the homecoming leg of what is a race like no other - a 40,000 nautical mile race around the world with an amateur crew. Leg 8 starts in North America, crossing the North Atlantic, travelling close to the Flemish Cap (the fishing grounds made famous in the book & film "The Perfect Storm"), probably stopping off in Londonderry, then on to Northern Europe and finally, back home to a UK port.
Sailing over 3000 miles in 24 days at sea, as part of a fleet of twelve matched racing yachts. This is no holiday cruise.
It's a world away from council meetings and dinghy sailing on the North Norfolk coast. Which is the limit of my current sailing experience, having only learnt to sail in 2014!
Why am I doing this? - Too many reasons to mention! Maybe it's the excitement of doing something hugely challenging, maybe it's being a part of the wide & supportive Clipper family, maybe it's the thought of facing down the North Atlantic waves and maybe it's partly about teaching my sons that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
For me, this is an exciting journey. but I'm not too proud to admit that I'm more than a little afraid. This isn't going to be easy, the Clipper is not a nice cruise, it's an ocean yacht race and anything can happen. There are 4 weeks of training to face, not to mention the fitness levels to work on (a lot) and leaving the boys is going to be hardest of all.
Take those dreams and make them happen!
This is going to be a HUGE challenge not just for me, but my family as well.
We are using this opportunity to raise money for 4 local causes close to our hearts:
The Friends of Magdalen School - Both boys go to Magdalen Village School. If ever there was an advert for a fantastic, caring learning environment it would feature Magdalen. They accept all children for who they are, they've done amazing things with our boys, they have achieved things I don't think they would have achieved at any other school. As a family we are enormously grateful. Small rural schools rock!
West Norfolk NAS - For the local families of children with ASD, the local NAS group can be a lifeline. They provide coffee mornings to meet other families and private, specialist activities such as swimming sessions and trips to play centres in a calm environment where parents can relax.
The Magpie Centre, West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled - Both boys ride every week at the RDA, riding is good for their emotional and physical development and is very good therapy. The staff and volunteers are incredibly patient with both the riders and their parents!
Wells Lifeboat Shannon Appeal - The Wells Lifeboat Station is just one 236 around the country run by the RNLI. They currently have 2 lifeboats and are running an appeal to raise £250,000 towards the cost of a new Shannon Lifeboat and boathouse. The Lifeboat Crew and helpers are on call 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. They're all unpaid volunteers and keep themselves busy rescuing walkers, kayakers, wind surfers, swimmers, sailors and even horses! Having a boat at Wells, I know that if I'm ever in trouble out on the boat and I need them, they'll be there.
So please, whatever you can give, whatever amount - it will be much appreciated.
All money will be split equally between all 4 causes. They are causes that as a family we care deeply about, they have all affected us in no small way.
If you would like to keep updated on my Clipper Journey, please visit my website at http://sandrasquire.com
Cllr Sandra Squire