Six-hour canoe trip around Portsea Island helps to raise more than £1,000 for the RNLI

A CANOE trip around Portsea Island has resulted in a wave of support for a charity saving lives at sea.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:50 pm

Keen seafarers Tony Hewitt and Stuart Paine set off on Friday for a six-hour canoe journey from Port Solent all the way around the circumference of the island city.

The adventurous pair have raised more than £1,000 for the RNLI, thanks to kind donations from supporters across Portsmouth who understand the charity’s vital work.

Tony, who lives in Port Solent, spotted the RNLI’s Mayday Mile challenge on Facebook and wanted to get involved with a challenge of his own.

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Tony Hewitt, left, and Stu Paine set off to canoe around Portsea Island, raising money for the RNLI, as part of the Mayday Mile Challenge. They are pictured at Port Solent where they started Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 140521-08)

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Tony, who was over the moon to raise so much money, said: ‘It’s fantastic, we weren’t expecting that at all. That’s an unbelievable amount to raise on a spur of the moment thing.

‘Just by going out in the Solent canoeing you can see how dangerous it can be when the tides change. I have come out of the canoe before, it can happen if a wave hits you the wrong way.’

The six-hour trek saw them following the tides and dealing with choppy waters, but the majority of the way was smooth sailing, and they even stopped for a drink halfway through at Gosport Marina.

Tony Hewitt and Stu Paine, left, set off to canoe around Portsea Island, raising money for the RNLI, as part of the Mayday Mile Challenge. They are pictured at Port Solent where they started Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 140521-09)

Permission was granted by the Queen's Harbour Master for the canoeists to pass through the dockyard, and they were even spotted by some fisherman at the Hot Walls who cheered them on.

Tony said: ‘It was harder than I thought. We were having to fight to stay upright near Eastney because you get a couple of tides meeting each other.

‘It was really choppy but once we were past that it was fine, pretty easy going all the way to Old Portsmouth.

‘By the time we headed up towards Portchester it was really hard going and we could feel it then.

‘I want to say thanks for all the support from everybody. People were quite generous, I think it’s because we live on an island so people know how important the RNLI is.’

In August, Tony and Stuart will join a bigger group of friends to take on a canoeing trip around the Isle of Wight for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, and the team is looking for corporate sponsors.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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