Brothers overcome back pain to canoe 125 miles to London

MISSION COMPLETED Dave (left) and Mike England at the end of their canoeing marathon
MISSION COMPLETED Dave (left) and Mike England at the end of their canoeing marathon
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TWO brothers have raised thousands of pounds for charity by paddling 125 miles all the way to London – despite both suffering with spinal problems.

David England and his brother Mike spent three days in a sea kayak on the annual Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.

It took the pair just under 28 hours to paddle all the way from Wiltshire to the capital, where they celebrated in front of the Houses of Parliament.

So far, their efforts have raised £2,500 for British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA) and The Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation.

David, a 44-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Royal Anglian Regiment, who lives in Alverstoke, said: ‘It was tough. It was a big challenge but we were delighted we could do it for such good causes.’

The feat was made all the more remarkable by the fact David suffers terrible back pain and has a metal rib cage following a rugby injury sustained in Northern Ireland 10 years ago. His brother Mike, 46, who is a retired army doctor, also suffers with a bad back.

‘Canoeing usually requires you to twist your torso but we can’t do that,’ said David.

‘So it was pure arms and shoulders work for us to make the journey.’

The brothers had a rough start to the canoe race after getting their water in-take wrong in the hot weather.

David said: ‘We didn’t have enough to drink on the first morning and it was really hot. We were really dehydrated after a few hours.

‘After just 15 miles we looked at each other and thought “we’re not going to do this” but we dug in and got going.

‘What kept us going was the fact that no way could we turn around to all the people who sponsored us and say we didn’t make it. We’ve got too much pride.’

They finished their three days of pain in style, crossing the line on the River Thames after 27 hours, 57 minutes.

David said: ‘We had no idea how long it was going to take us when we set off. We just knew we would never stop, never give up.

‘The highlight was crossing the line. The sense of achievement and sense of relief was amazing.

‘There were lots of people there cheering for us, which was great.’

To donate money to David and Mike, visit