Diane visits as part of 80-day RNLI tour

Diane Leigh, who is travelling around the UK visiting life boat stations, photographed at Port Erin Lifeboat Station

Diane Leigh, who is travelling around the UK visiting life boat stations, photographed at Port Erin Lifeboat Station

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A travelling fundraiser for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute visited the Isle of Man as part of an 80-day tour of the British Isles.

Diane Leigh visited the island’s lifeboat stations in one day as part of her ‘British Things Tour Expedition’.

She set out from RNLI headquarters in Poole on May 13 where she intends to finish on July 31.

On the way she will visit as many lifeboat stations as possible, using shipping forecast zones as her guide, and wants to raise £10,000 for the institute.

This trip is the fulfilment of a dream for Diane, and through doing it she hopes to inspire others to also follow their dreams.

At the age of 12 Diane’s mother died and her life ‘fell into darkness’ she wrote on her website, this darkness only lifted after she had a health scare at the age of 40.

Speaking at Port Erin lifeboat station, where she arrived last Monday afternoon, she said: ‘Life was very desperate and difficult up to that time (of turning 40).

‘I was very down, I was deeply unhappy. I found a lump and for two weeks thought I had breast cancer.

‘The impact once I got the all clear it completely shifted my mind set about life and what I wanted and what I wanted to give. It really happened in an afternoon.

‘I decided to live my life differently and that involved leaving a relationship, moving jobs, moving town.

‘I wanted to live for a year in France, and ended up living for two years in Paris.

‘I’m continuing to live in a way that is true to myself and at the same time hope to inspire others to fulfil their own dreams – whatever that might be.’

While living in France, on a trip back to Britain, she saw the country and culture with new eyes, inspiring this latest idea to capture the essence of ‘ordinary, everyday Britishness’ through travelling the length and breadth of the country.

She wrote her memoir, ‘Dream Seed Magic – A Journey Beyond My Imagination’, when she left France and hopes to publish another based on the British tour.

‘I decided on a coastal tour because I love the coast so much and would be able to represent Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England, it was automatic to raise funds for the RNLI,’ she said.

She’s doing the tour on a shoestring and relying on lifts, free accommodation and food – thanking people on her twitter feed - and collecting donations for the RNLI at the same time.

She said she passed quickly through places.

She said: ‘It is intensive, it highlights the similarities and differences, such as accents. There are behaviours we all share and recognise such as putting the kettle on, talking about the weather, insisting on a barbecue in the rain – we all can connect with the same things while accepting regional differences and celebrating those as well.’

She added: ‘I glance back to really remind myself of the achievement of changing my life so that I’m happy and have inner contentment. You learn you can move on, focus on the present to influence the future as best you can, that’s part of my philosophy.’

To donate to Diane’s trip, https://www.justgiving.com/littlebritishthingstour

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