Bristol Physio becomes round the world yachtwoman

Spire Bristol Hospital sponsors physio for international race

A Bristol physiotherapist is limbering up to take part in a round the world yacht race.

Lois Bickerton, aged 28, who lives in Clifton, will fulfil a lifelong ambition in September when she takes part in three legs of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race starting from Hull and sailing to Rio de Janeiro, down to South Africa and on to Western Australia.

The physio, who works at Spire Bristol Hospital, The Glen, said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and although it’s a daunting challenge I’m really looking forward to it and couldn’t be more excited.”

She added: “I’ve been involved with boats all my life, but didn’t really take up sailing as a serious hobby until about three and a half years ago and since then it’s been my ambition to take part in something amazing like this.”

The 35,000 mile Clipper race sees ten 68-foot yachts race against each other 24 hours a day from port to port. The boats are made up of amateur crews from all over the world with a whole range of ages and occupations.

Participants undertake intensive training to ensure they are competent ocean racers before the race begins and each boat is sponsored by cities and countries from around the world.

“As a physiotherapist I will be able to use my professional skills on board to keep the crew fit and able to race around the clock,” said Lois, “I will also be taking on additional training to help manage other medical situations that can occur on board the boats at sea”.

She added: “The most common kind of boating injury are sprained ankles, fingers and wrists, but of course there’s always the chance of a more serious injury, such as a bone fracture or dislocation, so I have to be ready and prepared for anything.”

To help Lois her employer, Spire Healthcare, is not only sponsoring her for part of the race, it is also offering to pay for her first aid course and donating physiotherapy equipment for the voyage.

“I’m very grateful to Spire Bristol Hospital for their generosity and support in helping me achieve my dream,” said Lois. “And even though I might be gone for up to ten months they’ve said they would love me to come and work for them again when I get back to England.”

Rob Anderson, Hospital Director at Spire Hospital Bristol, said: “Lois is a very valued member of Spire Bristol’s physiotherapy team and, although we’ll obviously miss her while she’s gone, I’m delighted that we have been able to help her with her seafaring adventures.”

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© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)