Yachtswoman Hilary Lister, 37, arrived back in Dover to a heroine’s welcome on August Bank Holiday Monday, a day earlier than expected, after becoming the first quadriplegic woman to sail round Britain. It was ‘an amazing triumph over adversity’ said her spokesman Paul Taroni. The inspirational sailor, from Selling, near Faversham, Kent, suffers from a degenerative disease and has no use of her arms and legs. She steers her specially-adapted Artemis 20 keelboat by a sip-and-puff computerised system involving three straws – one puff to port, one sip to starboard. She had a dedicated support team who at one time had to step in when her dry suit filled with water.
An attempt last year from Dover by the Oxford-education biochemist had to be abandoned when she reached Newlyn, Cornwall, because of bad weather, but she continued again from Plymouth in May, and made her epic trip in a series of coastal hops round Britain and through the Caledonian Canal. She was raising money for Hilary’s Dream Trust, which aims to help other disabled and disadvantaged adults to achieve their sailing dreams. Hilary found herself in a wheelchair at 15, and as her conditioned worsened she said life was not worth living until a friend introduced her to sailing. For details of her trip and sponsorship, see www.hilarylister.com.