Justin BesleyOn Sunday 1 September 2013, Justin Besley set sail from St Katharine's dock, London headed for Albany, Australia on a 70 foot sailing yacht. Racing against 11 other boats, he joins the first four legs of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

He took on this incredible challenge in memory of his brother Dominic, who sadly passed away in 2009. Dominic was born with Down's syndrome, and was supported by the United Response Wimbledon service for fifteen years. Justin feels these were 'some of the happiest years of Dominic’s life' and so decided to take on the race to fundraise for us.

But who said plain sailing was easy? Whilst taking voyage on one of the most testing challenges ever attempted for United Response, Justin has been penning his experience along the way in an enthralling crew diary. In a crew of twenty and just ten beds, with tales of mayday calls and four hour sleep shifts, times can be tough!

Currently on the last leg of his race, with just over two weeks to go, he is aiming to have raised £7500 by the time he docks on Tuesday 4th February. He even accepted an invitation to shave his head to add £900 to the pot! If you’d like to help Justin meet his sponsorship target you can donate via his online fundraising page.

Have you been inspired by Justin, but would prefer to take on something slightly less demanding? Fear not; we have a range of events for all abilities that you can take on to raise vital funds for United Response. Similarly, if you have a local event in mind you'd like to join on our behalf, please email the fundraising team. Why not make 2014 the year you make a real difference!

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising administrator.