Swim challenge for Christine
When Christine Spray was left paralysed from the waist down after a horse-riding accident she was determined to continue living an active life.
Since that fateful day 16 years ago, the 56-year-old has tried her hand at water skiing, sky diving, fencing, skiing and triathlons - often raising money for charity along the way.
Her latest passion, sailing, will see Christine compete in the Hansa World Championships in Medemblik, Holland, in June, against competitors from across the globe.
It is a challenge she is relishing and, to help fund the trip, Christine is planning a sponsored swim in Rutland Water on Sunday, May 8.
Completing the gruelling 500-metre course would be a difficult task for anyone, let alone a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, but Christine, from Ketton, is very confident she will complete it and is hoping to raise around £1,000.
She said: “I love to keep active. Virtually every day I’m out with my hand cycle for a ride in to Stamford and that’s what people know me for.
“I have completed triathlons before, which have featured open water swims, so while Rutland Water will certainly be a big challenge for me, I’m feeling confident.
“I won’t use any special equipment. It will be just be me, someone to help me into the water and keep an eye on me, and that’s about it.”
Christine, who has a son aged 21, sails regularly with Rutland Sailability - a club which has been helping disabled people get into the sport for the past 20 years.
The competition in Holland, due to take place between June 3 and 9, will see sailors from across the world compete in a variety of classes.
Christine will helm a Skud 18 boat and, together with a team mate, will be going for glory.
Fellow Rutland Sailability sailor Chris Emmett, who is helping to organise the trip, said nine competitors from our area will be taking part, with a support crew of 11 others assisting with transport, rigging and other tasks.
He added: “This competition is the biggest in our calendar and it’s one we all look forward to.
“However, getting there with all our equipment can be expensive, and a lot of disabled people don’t have jobs so finding that money can be difficult.
“I was amazed when Christine told me about her fundraising challenge.
“It won’t be easy, but I’m sure she’ll do it. I wish her all the best.
“Christine has chosen to raise money for the whole team, not just her own expenses, which is a wonderful thing to do.”
To contribute to the fundraising appeal, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/christine-spray