Round-Britain row for Portchester veteran

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KAYAKING around Britain would be a serious challenge for the most able.

For the disabled, it is, in fact, so hard that no disabled person has ever managed to complete it.

PADDLING Richard Hunt in the pool at Fareham Leisure Centre training for his round-Britain kayak trip. Picture: Paul Jacobs (13593-3)

PADDLING Richard Hunt in the pool at Fareham Leisure Centre training for his round-Britain kayak trip. Picture: Paul Jacobs (13593-3)

Royal Naval veteran Richard Hunt, 42, from Portchester, is hoping to prove the naysayers wrong and is taking on the 2,000-mile challenge despite only having one leg.

He hopes to raise money for BLESMA, a charity which supports injured service men and women who have lost limbs or sight through military service.

Richard was injured while serving with the military. He had to have 20 operations from 1988 until 1991 and eventually lost his left leg.

He said: ‘I picked up an injury while in service and a few years later my leg had to be cut off.

GETTING IN SHAPE Richard training on a treadmill for his kayak challenge. (13593-5)

GETTING IN SHAPE Richard training on a treadmill for his kayak challenge. (13593-5)

‘BLESMA helped with my repatriation and recommended activities, such as parachuting and golf.

‘The charity is my inspiration and I shall do my best to help them and give something back.’

He got into kayaking when he tried it on a friend’s stag weekend and said he enjoys the freedom that it gives him. He had intended to do the same challenge three years ago, but had to pull out due to ill health.

He said: ‘I’m so determined this time - I’m raring to go.’

Richard has two children daughter Yaxian, 16, and son Ying Ming, 7, who have never seen him as an able-bodied man.

He said: ‘It’s also very much a personal journey. I want to push myself to do something exciting.

‘I have achieved so much in the last few years. I now want to do something to show my children that you should never give up and that there is always something you can do. I want them to be proud of me.’

Richard intends to set off on his challenge next March and is in daily training at Fareham Leisure Centre, which has given him a free year’s membership.

He expects the trip will take four months, depending on weather conditions.

For more information go to justgiving.com/richieoneleg or facebook.com/TheGreatPaddleRound.

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