ORGANISERS of a fundraising 18-mile kayak around Hayling Island hailed it such a success they’re already planning to do it again next year.
Despite leaving the 21 firefighters, police and members of the public who took part in the event sore and tired, they hope to double their numbers for the next one.
The gruelling paddle around the island’s coastline yesterday raised about £2,000, which will be split between Hayling RNLI and the Fire Fighters Charity.
The day was the brainchild of Mark Pannell, watch manager at Hayling fire station.
The 44-year-old wanted to do a fundraising event and managed to arrange it with the RNLI.
Mr Pannell said: ‘We’re hoping to make this an annual event.
‘The community has been supportive. People were coming up to us on the beach and asking if we’re doing it again, so we took their names and we hope they’ll be taking part next year.
‘Thankfully, the weather was pretty good to us, apart from one stretch that was quite windy.
‘And we kept the group together as we were going around so we could have a good chat.’
And he joked: ‘Maybe we will race it next year.’
He added: ‘The RNLI supplied the safety boats and talked to us about the route we would have to take and the tides – they helped us out with that side of things.’
The group completed the circumnavigation in about four hours – including two short breaks at Langstone Sailing Club and by the Inn on the Beach.
Perry Dodgson, watch manager at Emsworth, also took part and said: ‘I don’t think everyone appreciated how hard it was going to be, it’s a fair old way.
‘Particularly in that last strait we were going against the tide and it was pretty tough.
‘But saying that, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
‘We had a barbecue afterwards and everyone was talking about next year and hopefully doubling it in size.
‘The day was a massive success.’
Anyone still wishing to sponsor the team or interested in next year can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.