ADVENTUROUS Alton woman Joan Bennett swapped life on land for time on the open water in July when she travelled to Ocean Village Marina in Southampton to take part in her third Sailaway experience in aid of the RNLI.

She was met by skipper John Partridge who, over the last 15 years, has used his Hunter Pilot 27 sloop Islamorada to take charity auction winners on a leisurely sailaway - this time up the River Itchen and under the Toll Bridge to Southampton Water.

Accompanied by friends Jose, Tracy, and Adrian, disabled Joan was one of 300 people who had attended last year’s RNLI concert at Alton Maltings, featuring the Cardiff Arms Park Male Voice Choir, where she took part in the auction of promises and secured her third Sailaway day with John - a retired architect who lives in Alton and uses his passion for sailing to raise money for charity.

During the trip, John’s guests enjoyed a fine alfresco lunch of homemade fish pie and salad courtesy of his wife, Gwyneth, who bakes and cooks for the occasion.

It was a special trip for the Alton sailor who said that having completed more than 100 Sailaway trips, with more than 400 people, Joan stood out as one of the best.

He said: “Joan has been an inspiration, an incredible lady on the crew, despite being disabled, and she again demonstrated incredible courage and determinationin July. It was a great pleasure to have her on board.

“Over many decades she has supported the RNLI, and in the last five years she has contributed £1,200 directly to the charity for the three Sailaway days, secured at the auction of promises.”

Mr Partridge added: “Joan has also travelled the world and has challenged herself on many occasions, including recently visiting The British Grand Prix, Formula 1 at Silverstone, and in Abu Dhabi - and visiting the Shard and the London Eye.

“During her travels she has flown in a sea-plane, in Canada, visited the Canadian ice fields, visited the CN Tower in Toronto, and travelled through the Rockies by train.

“One of her remaining ambitions is to take a hot-air balloon flight from Alton.”

Now, Mr Partridge is turning his attention to the next RNLI concert he is organising on Saturday, October 27, at the Alton Maltings Centre.

It will feature the Cardiff Arms Park Male Voice Choir, supported by Alton’s Kings Pond Shantymen, who together will present an evening of music, laughter and fun, with Welsh cakes and wine to be served during the interval.

Tickets, priced £16, are available now from Newbury Building Society, the Alton Herald office, Alton Maltings, or from John Partridge on 01420 80203.