CALIFORNIA and Jamaica would be high on anyone’s wish list for a birthday treat.
But for Huddersfield woman Nikki Schofield, the trip from Santa Cruz in California to Port Antonio in Jamaica will test her to the limits.
The restaurant owner will be pushed to her physical and mental limit by the port-to-port journey later this year to raise money for charity.
Nikki, who owns Bar 1535 at Firth Street, will take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in April to raise funds for the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust.
The Trust aims to raise £3m to build a children’s hospice in Brackenhall, Huddersfield.
Huddersfield is in desperate need of a specialised centre as the nearest hospices for children with terminal illnesses are in Wetherby and Manchester – too far for families to travel.
The Forget Me Not Trust has collected just over £1m so far and continues to raise money and awareness for the cause.
Nikki, who lives in Ainley Top, has pledged to raise £10,000 for the trust by being a crew member for five gruelling weeks of the world-famous boat race.
She said: “I first went yachting with my family when I was nine, but stopped when I was 15.
“It has been quite a while since I did anything like this and as April approaches I am becoming more and more nervous. But it is for a cause that I really believe in and I am determined to complete my leg of the race.”
The crew of the Western Australia clipper yacht will already have been aboard the boat for some time, having set off with nine other ships from our shores earlier this year.
The 10 competing boats start and finish in Liverpool in north west England and will call at 12 ports along the way: La Rochelle, France; Salvador Da Bahia, Brazil; Durban, South Africa; Fremantle, Western Australia; Singapore; Qingdao, China; Hawaii, USA; Santa Cruz, California, USA; Port Antonio, Jamaica; New York, USA; Nova Scotia, Canada; and Cork, Ireland.
Nikki will join the crew of the Western Australia at Santa Cruz in California and expects to arrive at Port Antonio soon after her 50th birthday on March 18.
She said: “I would have liked to have taken part in the whole race, but I have been concentrating on establishing the business since it opened four years ago so haven’t had the time.
“The journey will still be very difficult as the conditions are cramped and we will work in demanding shifts – 3 hours sleeping, 4 hours working.”
Nikki has already raised around £2,000 towards the total, but is appealing to the public to donate as little or as much as possible to help achieve her goal.
As well as the Clipper Yacht Race she has plans to organise a number of other charity events in order to raise the £10,000.
She plans to arrange a School Reunion night for Salendine Nook High School pupils who attended her year, she will be remembered as Nikki Hopkinson. As a model, she also aims to organise a charity fashion show at Bar 1535 in July of this year.
For information email at: email@example.com or donate funds for the hospice at www.justgiving.com/nikkischofield or send cheques payable to the Forget Me Not Trust to 1535 Bar & Restaurant, Firth Street, Huddersfield, HD1 3BB.