A WARSASH schoolgirl single-handedly sailed from sunrise to sunset in aid of charity.

Heather Aitken sailed her 15ft Laser dingy sixty miles around the Isle of Wight to raise money for her visit to Africa.

The 15-year-old started her journey at Yarmouth where she was carried by the tide to the Needles at the most western part of the island.

Following this, Heather was challenged with increasing winds and big waves as she sailed against the wind in her longest leg of the journey to the most southern point, St Catherine’s Lighthouse.

From then onwards, the schoolgirl was able to relax and enjoy the last length of her journey, crossing the finish line back in Yarmouth with a time of 11 hours and 5 minutes.

Heather said: “Sailing in two-metre waves when your boat is only four metres is tough and it was like that for the longest stretch around the island.

“My support crew followed until they thought the conditions were getting too rough then Dad took the lead directing me to flatter water.

“I was sailing out at sea rather than hugging the coastline because if I sailed to close to the land I’d be at risk of being pushed onto cliffs by the wind and tide so I was out in the elements.”

Heather is part of a group of volunteers from Brookfield Community School and she and her friends need to raise £2,850 to travel to Africa next summer where she will be working with a World Challenge on a local community project in Swaziland.

She added: “Sailing from sunrise then getting back to Warsash Sailing Club just as the sun was setting - that was incredible.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who supported and sponsored me.

“When I crossed the finishing line at Yarmouth there was a brilliant crowd of people cheering me and in and it really made the difference.”

If you would like to help Heather achieve her goal, please donate via her JustGiving page at: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/heatherswaziland.