Sunday, 22 October 2017

Friends raise £3,000 with 25-hour paddle

TWO paddlers overcame snow and ice to complete the Devizes to Westminster international canoe marathon over Easter.

TWO paddlers overcame snow and ice to complete the Devizes to Westminster international canoe marathon over Easter.

Simon Rayner, from Knowl Hill, and Steve Bridge met through their children, who attend the Piggott schools in Wargrave.

They both love kayaking so decided to take part in the 125-mile, non-stop race to raise money for Daisy’s Dream and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

They completed an estimated 90,000 strokes each to arrive at Big Ben on Easter Sunday after paddling for just over 25 hours, one of only 100 teams to finish the 65th annual race.

The friends, who were in training for 14 months, raised more than £3,000.

Mr Rayner, 45, who runs his own catering business, said: “This is one of the hardest endurance and kayaking races in the world.

“It is something that we had both wanted to do from the age of about 10 and 30-odd years later we have managed it. The charities are very close to my heart as my wife Sam has MS and we also lost a twin girl.”

The pair finished 57th and Mr Rayner said: “We were elated at the end. It was very emotional but we were still very strong, which was good considering other people were taken off in wheelchairs and there is a 40 per cent drop out rate every year.

“The last 17 miles were hell on earth in terms of kayaking. You are really tired and you have been going for 22 hours without really stopping.”

He said the freezing temperatures made the challenge more difficult.

“There was ice on our boat and our drinks froze during the overnight section,” said Mr Rayner. “We were assisted by a crew of 18 friends and family who supplied food, kit and clothing changes at 44 of the 77 portages along the way.

“They fed us peanut butter sandwiches, dried mango and pasta and were a great help.

“It was really nice to seeing everyone’s faces and we had lots of support through Wargrave even at 8pm when it was pitch black.”

To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com and search for “Simon Rayner” or “Steve Bridge”.

More News:

Latest video from

VIDEO: WW2 battles relived at Mapledurham
 

POLL: Have your say