Thursday, 20 September 2018
A LORRY driver paddled 184 miles from the source of the River Thames to the Thames Barrier in a kayak to raise money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
Ian Trust, 52, of Porthill Road, Benson, took six days to complete the challenge last month and raised more than £2,000.
He began at Cricklade and went through Lechlade, Oxford, Henley, Marlow, Windsor, Teddington, Richmond and Putney.
He hit rough water in central London, nearly sinking twice, and had to stop to empty his kayak five times.
There was also torrential rain during a thunderstorm around Docklands.
Mr Trust was supported by a friend Phil Diment, from Reading, who cycled alongside the waterways and helped collect donations in buckets along the way. At night he slept in a tent next to the water while Mr Diment slept in his van.
Mr Trust said: “It was quite gruelling. I thought the first day was brilliant as we did 40 miles but on day two I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I think that was kind of like hitting the wall.
“There were times going through London I feared for my life with the high waves, strong currents, swells, high winds and storms and nearly gave up after going ashore for the fifth time to empty the kayak which was getting flooded despite the spray deck.
“It was actually quite frightening. The waves were that big that the whole kayak was going underwater and it was just my body sticking out of the water.
“Phil kept reminding me we only had a few miles to go so I plodded on and was so pleased to see the barrier at the end.
“I was relieved to finish — I almost wanted to get out and kiss the ground.”
In August last year, Mr Trust paddled a kayak almost 90 miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal and River Kennet from Bristol to Reading, raising £1,500 for the same charity.
He plans to take on three more challenges with the aim of raising £5,000, the cost of two call-outs for the air ambulance.
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com
08 September 2018
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