From cadets to castaways in life raft charity challenge

DEEP END Officer cadets braving the elements in last years life raft challenge
DEEP END Officer cadets braving the elements in last years life raft challenge
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IT’LL be cold, it could get windy, and it’ll definitely be wet.

Thirty-two officer cadets from Southampton Solent University’s Warsash Maritime Academy will brave the elements tomorrow for 24 hours to raise money for charity.

The intrepid officer cadets, who are currently training to become ships’ officers in the merchant navy, will spend 24 hours 
in a life raft in aid of Sail 4 Cancer, a 
specialist respite charity with a sporting focus.

The survival challenge will test cadets’ courage, self-confidence, teamwork and endurance. After boarding their raft, the officer cadets will be floated out into the River Hamble to recreate the experience of escaping from a sinking ship.

The team will be tethered to buoys at the head of Warsash Maritime Academy’s pier.

This is the third year running that Warsash officer cadets have supported the challenge, and this year’s team includes two veterans of last year’s event.

Elle Watson, a phase 3 deck officer cadet, is one of them.

She says: ‘When I first got off the raft last year I was adamant I would rather go down with a ship than be in a life raft again.

‘But once I’d had time to recover, I realised what a great time I’d actually had, despite it being cold and cramped.

‘I love challenges and doing things out of the ordinary, and to take part in a challenge for such a great cause, well it seems stupid not to do it again.’

Senior Lecturer Ian Arnold, who is co-ordinating the event, said: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting Sail 4 Cancer’s 24-hour life raft challenge again.

‘The cadets have already begun to raise sponsorship money and we’re hoping that we’ll raise as much, if not more, than previous years.’

Last year the team raised more than £13,000. To make a donation, visit the Team Warsash Sail 4 Cancer webpage.

Companies supporting this year’s challenge include Survitec Group, who are providing the life rafts and Sunsail Events, who are providing life jackets and foul weather gear and Sodexo who are providing hot food for the fundraisers.