East Ham cadets meet Atlantic adventurer ahead of voyage
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 March 2019
St John Ambulance
Three St John Ambulance cadets from East Ham have met the 62-year-old sailing single-handedly across the Atlantic.
Sir David Hempleman-Adams is taking the voyage in support of the first aid-charity.
In 1998, he became the first person to complete the adventurers’ Grand Slam: climbing the highest peaks in all of the seven continents and reaching the northern and southern geographic and magnetic poles.
Cadet Raisa Stefanescu, 15, and Badgers Monisha Mahendrarajah, 10, and Khadeeja Saeed-Ahmad, 9 met him at St Katharine Docks.
Raisa is the City of London’s Lord Mayor’s Cadet and competed in this year’s Cadet of the Year competition.
“I am sure all the Cadets and Badgers across the country will support David on his journey as it truly is a new stepping stone for the organisation,” she said.
“It was a special day as we all had the opportunity to speak to David and learn how amazing it is to take on such a big challenge!”
Sir David is a relatively inexperienced sailor, making this, for him, harder than climbing Everest.
“As a trustee for St John, I am really driven to raise awareness of the valuable work the charity and its volunteers do in supporting their communities and the NHS,” he said.
“I know it will be a very physically and mentally demanding challenge, and one which will be made more difficult by the fact that I am in my 60s, but I’ve been training daily to prepare for the adventure ahead.”
He will have to stay awake for the first 72 hours of the journey to New York in order to navigate busy shipping lanes off England’s south coast.
“At 62 years old and about to sail the Atlantic alone, I think I am living proof that age is only a number,” he added.
“We can all go on a voyage of discovery, whether it’s learning new skills, gaining new experiences or meeting new people—just find something that inspires you.”
He hopes that his journey will encourage others to do something outside their comfort zone and to try new things.
The charity’s chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown said: “We are one of the few charities where younger and older people volunteer alongside each other with equal skills.
“I believe that Sir David’s courageous expedition will inspire many across the generations to seek a new adventure for themselves.”