Firefighters gear up for kayaking challenge

SUPPORT From left, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth watch manager Perry Dodgson, crew member Dan Wilkin, shore team member Paul Cobon, crew member Steve Gosling, Havant watch manager Martyn Elliott, and watch manager Mark Pannell. Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-3300)
SUPPORT From left, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth watch manager Perry Dodgson, crew member Dan Wilkin, shore team member Paul Cobon, crew member Steve Gosling, Havant watch manager Martyn Elliott, and watch manager Mark Pannell. Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-3300)
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IT’S an 18-mile trip that takes in some amazing views, from West Wittering beach, to the Langstone Bridge, to Eastney Point.

But it requires a good pair of lungs as rather than walking or driving, you are paddling.

Firefighters are preparing once again to kayak their way around Hayling Island.

Mark Pannell, watch manager at Hayling, is one of those training to take part.

He said: ‘We are doing it because last year was really successful and we raised more than £2,500 for charity.

‘It’s one of those things that if you have never done it, it’s a bit of an experience.

‘You see parts of Hayling Island that you have never seen before. Because you are doing it as part of a team, it’s good feeling when you all complete it.’

The challenge will raise cash for The Fire Fighters Charity and the RNLI.

Starting and finishing at the RNLI station at Sandy Point, kayakers will be travelling anti-clockwise around the island.

They will be setting off at around 10.30am on Sunday, July 7, and are expected to take around five hours.

Langstone Sailing Club and The Inn on the Beach will be the two resting stations en route.

Perry Dodgson, watch manager at Emsworth fire station, who is the main organiser, said: ‘We are in the process of recruiting up to 50 participants including members of the public who feel they can complete the 18-mile route around Hayling Island.

‘This will be the second year we have held the event, and already we have noticed a growing interest from both experienced kayakers and people new to the sport.’

Jonathan Bradbury, operations manager for Hayling RNLI, said: ‘We are delighted that the fire service is organising this challenging event. We are pleased to support the event with several crew members who are not on watch acting as safety boat crew in their own boats. Let’s hope for a good day in terms of weather and response.’

For application details contact perry.dodgson@hantsfire.gov.uk. Any donations can be accepted by sending a cheque payable to RIKE to the fire stations at Havant or Hayling or the lifeboat station.