AN EAST Woodhay still-life artist is aiming to become the oldest woman to row 1,800 miles around the coast of Great Britain.
Lesley Foden set out on Saturday from Burnham-on-Crouch on her epic eight-week journey as part of the Rannoch Adventure GB Challenge 2017.
She will be rowing her boat Liberty for two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day.
Mrs Foden said: “I had this mad idea to challenge myself to row around Great Britain because I will be 60 this year – and I want an adventure.”
She plans to row all of the eight legs of the journey with stop-off points at Cowes, Padstow, Dublin, Oban, Lochinver, Fraserburgh and Scarborough.
She added: “It won’t be comfortable or luxurious and as regards facilities, there aren’t any, just a plastic bucket on deck at the back.
“I don’t mind as long as I can take tea bags as I shall miss having a cup of tea the most.
“I want to inspire older people to exercise, raise awareness of plastic pollution in the seas and to raise funds for lifeboats.”
Mrs Foden will be surviving on freeze-dried food and willpower, as she has never rowed on the sea before, only rivers.
She has three rowing seats and a crew of five who will swap at the end of each leg.
Before she can take part in the challenge, Mrs Foden must raise £40,000 – £20,000 of which must be paid to Rannoch Adventure, which supplies the boat, clothing, food, equipment and expertise – and another £20,000 for her chosen charities: Sea Changers and RNLI Lifeboats.
So far, she has raised £9,000 through donations and selling her paintings.
Mrs Foden is a professional painter, and is the chairwoman of the East Woodhay Neighbour-Care Volunteer Driving, as well as a member of St Martin’s Church choir, where she also rings bells.
To sponsor Mrs Foden’s challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lesleysrow