Cheryl Spencer takes part in this exciting partnership and pushed herself out of her comfort zone. Here’s what she told us: 

So, when I signed up I was apprehensive about doing this as I don’t swim or like the water or boats, and definitely not heights.  As time got closer I got more scared suffering with panic attacks and sleepless nights ready to back out.

The day came and we got the train to London all my worst nightmares came together panic set in and I wanted to go home. We found the ship alongside HMS Belfast and walked across Belfast to reach Lord Nelson.  I saw the tall ship, well that was it! I was ready to walk away. Barry held my hand all the way, he took the bags on board and I tried to follow looking at the gang way moving. I slowly walked onto the ship feeling sick. 

We then met all the other at the Tower bridge hotel for a drink. Then the time came to get on board we all walked to the ship and got on board, I started to walk down below and panicked again. I don’t like small spaces either and have always done everything with Barry, then found out we were going to be separated on different sides of the ship, I had a massive panic attack and my asthma kicked in, I was crying and shaking.  Barry, Steph and members of the crew came to calm me down. We then got all our gear and settled down.

So far, I have encountered all my worst nightmares, small spaces, the water, ships and the biggest challenge was heights, not realising you had to step outside the ship to climb the mast while at sea. I climbed to the crow’s nest with the help of the lovey Sarah. What an experience!

My body froze, but step by step I climbed up and again froze half way, I couldn’t look down, I felt sick and then the panic set in. I made it to the top, touched the crow’s nest and had to get down. I couldn’t go any higher, but I did it!  I Slowly came down and got off with the help of the crew and burst out crying. I had done it! First stop a sweet cuppa. I was shaking for ages, but I had done it. Then we have encountered gale force 9 and 60 mph winds. This also threw me into panic attacks and sickness.

We got through it thanks to the amazing crew. They were so supportive, as so were all of us supporting each other as a team.  The ship itself is amazing. It’s like it hugs you. The staff can’t be more helpful, whilst keeping up to date on information on weather conditions etc. The food on all levels was fantastic.

So far, I have around £350 for just climbing the mast and around £500 on the charity site and it’s still rising.  Would I do it again? I will think about that!

Thank you for helping me face my fears. I highly recommend the JST to anyone who fancies an adventure of a lifetime.