Three degrees for Portland ace Lucas

Dorset Echo: MAKING THE GRADE: Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas MAKING THE GRADE: Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas

GOLD medallist sailor Helena Lucas will be spending ‘most of November graduating’ after being offered three honorary degrees.

The Portland Paralympian’s on-the-water achievements at the home Games have led to a surprise boom of doctorate title offers.

Lucas, of Underhill, is set to become a Doctor of Sport at Southampton Solent University, a Doctor of Science at Winchester University and a Doctor of Arts at Bournemouth University later this year.

She said: “It’s kind of crazy. You don’t expect to be given honorary degrees.

“It looks like I'll be spending most of November graduating.”

She added: “I did an engineering degree in Yacht and Power Craft design at Southampton Solent University, my parents are probably thinking they could have saved all that money they spent on me going to uni!”

The 38-year-old, who made history at the London 2012 Games by becoming the country’s first Paralympic sailing gold medallist, is campaigning to retain her 2.4mR keelboat crown at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Last month Lucas secured 2.4 silver at the ISAF World Cup Regatta, in Hyeres, France.

While in Hyeres, she also competed in the SB20 Grand Slam, on a 20ft sports boat with Olympic classes sailors Lucy Macgregor, Ali Young and Richard Mason, and finished fifth overall.

Lucas said: “Next, I've got the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland coming up in just over a week’s time. I’ll be flying out on May 19.”

Off the water, Lucas has two exciting events to look forward to – the Queen’s Garden Party at the end of May and Wimbledon, where she has been given two tickets to watch from the Royal Box.

Lucas added: “I’m going to Wimbledon with my husband Steve, that will be brilliant.

“It's amazing that these opportunities are still happening, I thought it would all calm down and dry up, so it’s nice to have the odd thing that starts it all up again.”

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