Hilary Lister dies

Hilary Lister at Dover Harbour with her boat after completing her record breaking round Britain voyge

Hilary Lister, who lived in Dunkirk near Canterbury, was born able-bodied but a degenerative condition left her wheelchair-bound at the age of 15.

She went on to study biochemistry at the University of Oxford, but while studying for a PhD, her condition grew worse and at the age of 27 she became paralysed from the neck down.

Hilary started sailing in Westbere, just outside Canterbury, in 2003 and soon fell in lover with the sport.

She was able to sail thanks to “sip-puff” technology – which allowed her to steer and adjust the sails using three straws linked to an innovative Power Assist System.

Hilary Lister during her voyage around the Isle of Wight

Two years later, she sailed solo round the Isle of Wight and in 2009, she sailed solo round Britain.

Hilary managed to secure sponsorship, making it possible for her to fulfil her dreams.

But, recognising the difficulty many have such backing, she created charity Hilary’s Dream Trust, which aims to help other disabled and disadvantaged adults.

Hilary opening the new Herne Bay Sailing club boat shed in 2014

In 2010, the world record holder also embarked on a four-day, 100 mile jaunt around the Bahrain coastline in aid of disability charity Bahrain Mobility International.

She won a number of accolades for her achievements, including the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration in the Sunday Times Sportswoman of The Year Awards, and Vitalise Woman of the Year Award – and was even a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2009.

Hilary’s family broker the news of her death earlier today and friends have paid tribute on social media.

Story and pictures from KentOnline

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