Brothers' fund raising challenge in memory of well known Burnley teacher proved to be plain sailing

The family of a well known teacher from Burnley have staged a fund raising mission in his memory, five years after his death.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 12:12 pm
Steve Ennis (centre) with his brothers, John (left) and Anthony before they set off on their mammoth kayak journey in memory of their brother Mick.

Steve and Anthony Ennis kayaked an incredible 43 miles in one day to raise money for Pendleside Hospice where their brother Mick was cared for before he died at the age of 61 in December, 2014.

They also staged the event in memory of their aunt, Monica Atherton, who was also cared for by the hospice until her recent death.

And their magnificent efforts have raised £1,525.

The event was held in Gloucestershire last Saturday and the duo kayaked the entire length of the River Avon from Shakespeare's Theatre at Statford upon Avon to Tewkesbury where Steve has lived for several years after moving away from Burnley.

The duo were joined by Steve's friend Mark Stancer and their older brother, John who acted as crew support and helped the sailors to negotiate the 17 locks on the route.

Steve said: "The locks are ok for pleasure boats but can be quite tricky for kayaks so we really did appreciate John's help as it enabled us to complete the challenge quicker."

Starting at 6am the crew kayaked all day non stop and finished just before sunset.

The majority of the Ennis family, including Steve's four brothers and two sisters, still live in Burnley and they all made the journey down to Tewkesbury to lend moral support.

And leading the cheering was Steve's mum, Eileen who is 88 and the inspiration for the event.

Steve said: "I was thinking about doing something different for my mum at Christmas, rather than just buy a present, so I came up with the idea for the kayak event to thank the hospice for how they took care of my aunt, who was my mum's sister, and also Mick.

"To have family come down and support us was fantastic, it really helped to keep us going."

Since Mick's death family and friends have staged various fund raising events in his honour and several donations have been made to the hospice.

A keen sportsman, he had been a respected PE teacher at St Theodore’s and Blessed Trinity RC Schools, where he brought through the likes of England cricket ace James Anderson, Manchester United Class of '92 star Chris Casper and Burnley midfielder John Mullin, as well as Reading striker Ollie Norwood.

Donations can still be made in memory of Mick and Monica by going to the link