On a very wet and windy day last weekend, 32 brave participants took to the Lancaster canal to complete the Age UK Lancashire 25 miles Canoe Challenge, all to raise money to support vulnerable older people across Lancashire.
David Ward, Fundraising Manager for Age UK Lancashire said: “This event is in its third year and has been the biggest one yet. We had 13 canoes in total with 32 people taking part, some in pairs and others as part of larger relay teams. Despite the poor weather conditions everyone got over the line and has really enjoyed the day”.
The challenge began at 8am from the Hand & Dagger pub in Preston with participants making their way up the canal through Garstang, finishing at the Waterwitch pub in Lancaster. The route is 25 miles long and has designated checkpoints along the way, with volunteer support crew there to ensure everyone is safe and well. The first team crossed the line in 6 hours 36 minutes. The last canoe over the line finished in 9 hours 10 minutes.
David Ward: “This challenge wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteer Graham Wright who supplies the canoes and gives his time free of charge, and both the Hand & Dagger and Waterwitch pubs that were very welcoming letting us use their facilities. We would like to especially thank the team at the Waterwitch for providing each of the participants with a free chip barmcake at the end. It was definitely much appreciated by our very tired and hungry group. Also Tesco in Buckshaw Village for providing energy drinks for everyone. Not only does this event raise us a fantastic amount of money through sponsorship but it’s great to have the support from local organisations and volunteers”.
The charity is hoping to raise over £4,500 from the day with the money being used to support unfunded services such as Information & Advice and Community Groups. In a tough time for the charity sector, fundraising is becoming increasingly more important meaning events such as the Canoe Challenge are vital for Age UK Lancashire.
David Ward: “We will be looking to do this event next year as it is growing in popularity. We had a waiting list this year which shows people want to take part in the special occasion and support our charity. It really does make a difference to us and all the money stays in Lancashire to support the most vulnerable people. We’d like to thank all of the participants, support crew and organisations who have been involved in making this such a great event”.