With the weather cold and grey outside, it’s nice to remind ourselves of the warmer summer months.

So today we’re looking back to last July, and Lesley Wilson’s paddleboarding fundraising challenge.

Lesley, who turned 50 last year, wanted to raise money for the Juvenile Arthritis Department at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital.

The team at the hospital have cared for her daughter, Arabella, for the past 11 years, since she was three, and Lesley wanted to do something to raise money for the department.

Lesley said, “The department there are fantastic. They always put Arabella’s needs at the top and she has always said how kind everyone is and that she feels safe there, which is so important.

“Over the years the arthritis has affected Arabella in her knees and elbows and also her eyes at various stages. She has been on medication and has had to go in for blood tests every two months.

“At the moment Arabella is being weaned off of her medication as her symptoms have dramatically improved with blood tests continuing until the medication completely stops.”

Lesley, from Arborfield in Reading, has a real passion for paddleboarding, which she does in her spare time.

The challenge came about when a paddleboarding friend at her club asked if she wanted to join her at the Trent 100km challenge, and she knew that it was the perfect choice for a fundraiser.

Putting herself well and truly out of her comfort zone, with hours of training in all weathers, Lesley headed up to Derby for the two day challenge. Her team, called the Salt Birds, covered 57km on the first and 43km on the final day - taking 17 hours in total to complete the full 100km!

Lesley said: “I did a lot of prep and started my training in December which was very cold! The weather was mixed but I’m glad it wasn’t really hot as this would have made it very uncomfortable.

“The support team at the event were amazing, cooking us breakfast and dinner on both days, which was very welcomed. I slept in a camper van overnight and others camped out but we were all shattered.”

Lesley raised a fantastic £600.00 through the challenge and said:

“I’m so happy I achieved this, as you guys are so deserving of the money raised.”

Jane Bray from Oxford Hospitals Charity said, “We are blown away by Lesley’s achievement in this challenge. 100km paddleboarding is an amazing sporting feat and we are delighted that she has chosen such a worthy department to donate the money to.”

If you would like to take on a challenge this year, big or small we would love to hear from you. Visit our fundraising pages to find out how you can start https://www.hospitalcharity.co.uk/fundraising