Paddle Challenge raises funds for children’s charity

The GCW team has raised more than £13,000 for children’s charity The Elifar Foundation through its annual charity challenge. A crack team of 15 paddlers ventured 23 miles down the Thames in Canadian canoes. With the help of a dedicated support crew, the hardy group ended the day triumphant and exceeded its target by completing the endeavour in an impressive 8 and a half hours.

GCW organises regular fundraising events and this summer decided it was time to take to the water. On Wednesday 4th August 15 volunteers paddled two-man Canadian canoes on a daunting 23-mile journey along the Thames. Starting out at Pangbourne, the group negotiated 8 locks, navigated swans and pleasure cruises, and worked as a team to complete what proved to be their most gruelling challenge yet.

The paddlers had help from a morale-boosting support crew of Iain Coxon, Lisa Manley and Ellie Roberts who transported the team’s bags and met the paddlers at key checkpoints along the route to hand out essential supplies of drinks and snacks. Staff at the boat hire centre were sceptical the team would meet their 10-hour goal but after just 8 and a half hours of arm-aching paddling, the last of the canoes crossed the finish line at Marlow and the celebrations could begin.

GCW hoped to raise £10,000 and has already smashed its target with more than £13,000 raised so far. All money will go to The Elifar Foundation, a small charity which aims to help improve the lives of children and young adults with severe learning difficulty and associated physical disability. It relies on fundraising efforts to provide grants for a variety of items including electronic wheelchairs, specialised seating, special beds and trikes, hoists, communication devices, sensory equipment, and specialist holidays.

GCW Director James Pearson said: “This was our toughest challenge yet and we want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. It was an impressive team effort. It is great to have exceeded our fundraising goal and to be supporting such a fantastic charity. I can’t wait to take on something even crazier next year.”

You can still donate to the cause via the Virgin Money Giving website. Just search for ‘GCW Paddle Challenge.’