Fitness fans put their oars in for MS charity

CHALLENGE Staff from BAE practising for their row to the Isle of Wight.     Picture: Paul Jacobs (110882-1)

CHALLENGE Staff from BAE practising for their row to the Isle of Wight. Picture: Paul Jacobs (110882-1)

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FITNESS fanatics are taking on a gruelling 15-hour rowing and cycling challenge for charity.

The Type 45 Destroyer Charity Team, based at Portsmouth Naval Base, will row from Stokes Bay in Gosport to the Isle of Wight.

They will then cycle the 65-mile perimeter of the island before returning across the Solent.

The team is made up of staff from BAE Systems, MBDA and the Royal Navy.

The money they raise will be given to the Solent MS Therapy Centre in North End.

Ian Hindmarsh, a 47-year-old combat system engineer, said: ‘I’m looking forward to the challenge.

‘Last year we had a really good day out and we had fantastic weather so I hope it won’t be too difficult to replicate that.

‘The big challenge will be the rowing rather than the cycling because of the nature of open water.

‘We’re doing lots of training to make sure everyone is ready.

‘The cycling side of it will be difficult because if we don’t feel comfortable on our bikes we could get serious problems after only a few miles.’

Gosport Sea Cadets have loaned the fundraisers the use of their rowing boats with instructor Tony Salmon guiding them through training.

The 15-strong team are expecting to complete the challenge in around 15 hours on July 25.

Last year, the same group canoed the 13-mile length of Lake Windermere in the Lake District before a 20-mile hike.

They raised more than £3,500 for the Solent MS Therapy Centre and hope to beat that amount this year.

Ian added: ‘When we went down Lake Windermere it was actually quite pleasant.

‘We thought the three-mile hop across the Solent wouldn’t be too bad either but our first practice was a bit difficult as it’s open water.

‘But it’s such a worthwhile charity.

‘We were lucky enough to go and visit the centre and we’re hoping to do that again.

‘When you can actually see what your fundraising is doing and how you’re helping people it makes all the hard work seem worth it.’

If you would like to sponsor the team, visit justgiving.com/rnb-challenge

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