Kayakers beat sun and sea in paddle event

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IT was 18 miles of effort, taking a whopping five hours to complete, with no protection from the blazing sun.

But the 50 people who took part in the RNLI and the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service kayak challenge around Hayling Island yesterday are hoping their effort has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

GETTING READY Preparations for the Round the Island kayak event on Hayling Island. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131894-1515)

GETTING READY Preparations for the Round the Island kayak event on Hayling Island. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131894-1515)

This year’s event was the second year the challenge has been run, and last year the teams raised £2,500 for the Fire Fighters Charity and the RNLI.

Yesterday’s event began at Sandy Point, and the kayakers paddled anti-clockwise around the island taking in the sights including bathers soaking up the sun in West Wittering, the long Langstone Bridge and then the boats moored around Eastney point.

One of the organisers Perry Dodgson, a watch manager at Emsworth Fire Station, said: ‘We had 44 people taking part and the event went really, really well.

‘Conditions were lovely on the water, obviously very hot, but really lovely and it was supported really well by the RNLI’s safety boats.

‘Everyone was sensible and we had a safety briefing, which of course accounted for the temperature.

‘Everyone managed to finish it and there was a family barbecue afterwards.’

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

Mark Pannell, watch manager at Hayling, was 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 organisers anticipate raising £4,000 with the event.