Natasha Lambert has received the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List to recognise her fundraising achievements.
Over the past four years, disabled teenager Natasha Lambert has sailed around the Isle of Wight, crossed the Channel, sailed more than 500 miles to Wales, climbed the highest peak in Southern Britain and sailed from Cowes to London and then completed a walk around the Square Mile.
To date the Miss Isle sailor has raised over £53,000. These activities would be remarkable for any teenager but Natasha has athertoid cerebral palsy, which affects all her limbs and speech.
Natasha uses a wheelchair. Her sailing is by mouth in a specially adapted yacht and her walks are completed in a special walker which she propels herself.
Not only does Natasha deserve recognition but her family and carers are also inspirational. Dad Gary has spent countless hours pioneering the system which allows Natasha to sail, Mum Amanda juggles Natasha’s full time needs with planning and supporting her challenges and bringing up Natasha’s young sister, Rachel.
Natasha’s carers have all been a part of the challenges, sleeping in car parks in camper vans and spending hours on the water in support boats.
Whilst Natasha’s speech is made difficult as a result of the cerebral palsy she has an active mind and her family say she is very much in the driving seat when it comes to planning her challenges.
The family know that the adventures develop Natasha’s confidence and self-esteem, but they are also keen to let other families who have children and young people with similar needs know what can be achieved.
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The past few weeks have been particularly successful for Natasha, who has completed her latest Capital Venture challenge, launched her own charity to let other young people learn to sail using her sip and puff method, been invited to start the prestigious JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, been included in the Independent on Sunday’s 2015 Happy List and now has received this honour in the Queen’s Birthday list.
Natasha’s mum Amanda said: ‘She loves her sailing, but the fundraising has become equally important and it’s really given her a focus, being able to help other people.’
Natasha started sailing through the RYA’s Sailability scheme, which aims to encourage and support with disabilities to take up the sport and facilitate centres too develop sailing opportunities for all.