Thursday, 19 October 2017

Friends paddle from Caversham to Windsor on home-made raft

A GROUP of friends raised money for international children’s charity World Vision by sailing down the Thames on a raft

A GROUP of friends raised money for international children’s charity World Vision by sailing down the Thames on a raft made from salvaged scraps of wood.

The team of four had been completing fun trials throughout the year after horticultural therapist Jan Broady decided to give his friends a “scrapheap challenge” for Christmas instead of presents.

Mr Broady, 28, from Reading, Chris Evans, 34, a teacher from Reading, Rob Hollinger, 26, from Caversham, and Luke Sweeting, 26, from Birmingham, made elastic band- powered toys and self-propelled boats and planes and organised a cardboard boat race.

The four-day rafting expedition from Caversham to Windsor was the group’s final and biggest challenge. Mr Broady said: “It took us about a day to build the raft and we launched it at View Island.

“It held our weight well but we had no idea how tough the journey was going to be. The raft was hard to get through the water and if we stopped paddling the river wasn’t fast flowing enough to push us along.

“We travelled at around one mile per hour and people walking on the towpath were overtaking us.

“Every evening we stopped at a pub for a meal before we found a place to settle for the night covered with our survival bags and mosquito nets.

“We arrived at our destination in Windsor ahead of schedule and felt an incredible sense of achievement.” The raft didn’t have any protection from the weather and the friends carried only basic provisions such as sleeping bags, sun cream and cereal bars with them.

Mr Broady explained why they supported the charity, saying: “My wife and I have sponsored a little boy called Lusvin through World Vision for the last two years.

“He lives in Honduras and we love getting letters from him explaining how World Vision’s work is making a real difference in his community by providing access to things like clean water, education and healthcare.

“Although our challenge started off as a bit of fun, we’re really pleased we could use it as an opportunity to help children like Lusvin.”

To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/sarah-broady

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