Suffolk: Canoeists prepare for river challenge in aid of brave Gracie

Jamie Doy, Marcus Gladwell and Kevin Hill are going to canoe the length of the River Thames to raise

Jamie Doy, Marcus Gladwell and Kevin Hill are going to canoe the length of the River Thames to raise money to buy a new electric wheelchair for Gracie Forster Goddard, 6, who has cerebral palsy and goes to Waldringfield Primary School. L-R Sarah Goddard, Jamie Doy, Gracie Forster Goddard and Arthur Goddard (in the boat), Marcus Gladwell, Kevin Hill - Credit: Archant

FOR most of us the Easter Bank Holiday will be spent tucking into chocolate eggs and putting our feet up for a well earned rest with the family.

Jamie Doy, Marcus Gladwell and Kevin Hill are going to canoe the length of the River Thames to raise

Jamie Doy, Marcus Gladwell and Kevin Hill are going to canoe the length of the River Thames to raise money to buy a new electric wheelchair for Gracie Forster Goddard, 6, who has cerebral palsy and goes to Waldringfield Primary School. L-R Sarah Goddard, Jamie Doy, Gracie Forster Goddard and Arthur Goddard (in the boat), Marcus Gladwell, Kevin Hill - Credit: Archant

So spare a thought for a trio of Suffolk fundraisers who are embarking on a gruelling 125 mile challenge along England’s longest river.

Marcus Gladwell, Kevin Hill and Jamie Doy are canoeing the Thames from Devises to Westminster.

The three men decided to take on the challenge to help raise money for brave six-year-old Gracie Forster Goddard.

The Waldringfield Primary School pupil suffers from cerebral palsy and her family need to raise £8,000 to buy her an electric wheelchair.

Mr Gladwell, from Reydon, near Southwold, and Mr Hill, of Halesworth, are friends with Gracie’s father, Ian Goddard, who lives at Purdis Farm near Ipswich.

They met through their work with the RNLI and Mr Goddard, 34, said he was incredibly grateful for their support.

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“I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I also have a little boy and with Gracie’s manual wheelchair it was proving difficult to push them both if I was out on my own. The electric wheelchair will enable her to do it herself and it’ll be a great help with going to the shops and family days out.”

Mr Hill, whose employer’s Boeing have sponsored the challenge, started canoeing yesterday but Mr Gladwell and Mr Doy are setting out today in the hope of finishing in around 25 hours.

Mr Gladwell, who has now retired from the RNLI said: “I did an around Britain challenge and raised £70,000 for multiple sclerosis and Ian asked how you would put something like that together.

“I said I would have a word with some people and Kevin came on board. Jamie lives down the road from me and we do a lot of these types of things together.

“We were looking for something a little different and we thought this was a good idea.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult, especially with the conditions as there will be a head wind all the way, but we’re looking forward to it.”

The challenge has also been supported by friends of Mr Hill who lost their baby son earlier this year and donated proceeds from the funeral to the fundraising effort.

It is hoped that any extra money raised will be used to improve the play area at Waldringfield Primary School.

To make a donation visit www.charitygiving.co.uk/wsacanoerace or text WALD12 then your amount to 70070.

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