Burnley brothers complete gruelling 25-mile, Preston-to-Lancaster Age UK charity canoe in under seven hours

The Canoe Challenge in full swing.
The Canoe Challenge in full swing.

Putting the 'fun' back in 'fundraising', a pair of Burnley brothers completed Age UK Lancashire’s annual 25-mile Canoe Challenge in under seven hours, paddling from Preston to Lancaster to win the event and help raise £4,000 on the day.

One of eight teams involved in the challenge held on Saturday 30th March, Burnley-born Jimmy and Jolan Cash took to the water with aplomb as participants set off bright and early from The Hand & Dagger Pub to the North West of Preston and headed North towards the Water Witch Pub in Lancaster, finishing in an impressive time of just six hours, 53 minutes.

With the conditions proving perfect, all participants - some from as far as Wolverhampton - finished within eight-and-a-half hours of setting off, ably supported by a team of Age UK Lancashire staff and volunteers who accompanied the teams on foot, bikes, and cars ,while donations from Tesco in Leyland and Asda in Lancaster kept everyone hydrated.

"There are always tough moments for each team along the way but to finish in such a good time with smiles on their faces was great to see," said David Ward, Promotions Manager from Age UK Lancashire, of the Cash brothers' efforts. "All the teams did so well and I think everyone had fun; we can’t thank the participants enough for being part of this and putting so much effort into raising money for us.

“This challenge is mentally and physically demanding so having a good support crew is vital," David added, with last year's challenge having been called off due to bad weather. "A huge thank-you to everyone who made this event possible: the Canal & River Trust; Graham Wright for providing the canoes, equipment, and his expertise; Tesco and Asda; and both pubs at the start and finish.

Providing the paddle-weary competitors with a well-earned chip barmcake at the end of the event, staff at the Water Witch Pub also played host to the awards ceremony, with all the finishers receiving a medal for their fundraising efforts, which will see all money raised staying in Lancashire to fund the vital services Age UK Lancashire provide.

"The biggest thank-you goes to all of our participants who took on the challenge with such enthusiasm and everyone who donated in support of them," David said.

Keen to hold the canoe challenge again next year, Age UK Lancashire are hosting a range of other fundraising events in the meantime. For more information, email fundraising@ageuklancs.org.uk, call 0300 303 1234, or go to www.ageuklancs.org.uk.