A WIDOW has overcome the odds to take part in a round-the-world sailing race for charity.

Karen Corley, 60, will take part in the 2020 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race which will take her from Australia to England.

The mum-of-three, from Tolleshunt Major, first took on the personal challenge after she took up sailing at Marconi Sailing Club following her husband’s loss to cancer in 2015.

Daughter Jordanne Corley, 26, said: “After my dad passed, my mum joined a sailing club because she needed something to focus on and she worked at Marconi before.

“She was umming and ahing about whether or not she was good enough to race.

“But she applied and now she’s doing three different legs around the world – Australia to China, China to the US and the US to London.

“This means she’ll be away for about six or seven months. It is scary, but you have to be quite strong-minded and brave to do it and we are so proud of her.

Asked if her father had any hobbies on the water, Jordanne said: “He was kind of the opposite.

“He was not really one for the water, so my mum didn’t do it while he was alive.

“He was my mum’s first boyfriend and they met when she was 18. They were married for 34 years and together for 38 years.

“She was completely broken when it happened so suddenly, but now she’s the strongest person you could meet.

“She always gave up everything for us as a family so we’re all so happy she is doing this for herself.”

Jordanne’s sister Becky Corley-Morgan, 30, added: “Mum has taken something negative and turned it into something positive.

“She would’ve never done something like this – it just goes to show you’re never too old.”

Karen aims to raise money for Unicef UK and the RNLI on her trip to sea.

She said: “I am preparing to take on my next big challenge since losing my husband Dave very suddenly to cancer.

“He was my best friend, a wonderful father of three amazing children, and a true engineer.

“I started learning to sail four years ago at Marconi Sailing Club, a fantastic club whose members have given me so much advice and friendship.

“I sail mainly small dinghies, so the Clipper race in a 70ft boat is a massive step up for me.

“I’m aiming to use this challenge as a means of inspiring other people to take up sports and other challenges.

“I have a background of working in the engineering industry and playing football and other sports. I would like to share my experience in schools for wider education, and in particular to inspire women and girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as taking part in sailing and other sports.” Karen will be a crew member on the Unicef yacht and will start her journey in January. She is also looking for support to fund the trip.

To find out more, visit karensailstheocean.com.