A travel agent is giving up her job for almost a year to sail around the world to raise funds and awareness for Abta LifeLine.
TravelStop founder and owner Bridget Keevil had never set foot on a boat prior to starting her training for the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, calling it "the biggest challenge" of her life.
Keevil aims to raise £5,000 for the charity. “I’ve found the training hard work", she admits. "I’ve pulled all the muscles in my hands from yanking the ropes. I am not a natural sailer so I am scared.”
At the end of August, the 54-year-old will be handing over the reins of her three-branch agency, based in Elmswell, Claydon and Hadleigh, to her husband Paul, and swapping her five-bed home for a bunk bed in a yacht with 19 others.
The race comprises eight legs around the world, starting with London to Rio, and including South Africa, Australia, Asia, China, and the US.
Keevil hopes to enlist the help of the industry to provide excursions in ports, and even encourage a celebrity chef to support the event with some supplies, in return for being publicised on her blog, The Fat Bird and The Boat.
Most importantly, Keevil is determined to spread the word about Abta LifeLine in the trade and how it can help Abta members who are suffering financial hardship.
Trudie Drake, Abta LifeLine director, said: “Bridget is taking on an amazing personal challenge. She compares this to the challenges that some of our colleagues take on every day; those who suffer financial hardship due to a medical condition or disability among other things.”
The event starts at St Katharine Docks in London on August 30.
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