The count down has begun for the Bobby’s, not on bikes, their normal form of transport, but paddling for charity in a Kayak!
With just over a two days to go, Neil Smith founder member of Bobby on a Bike and his paddling partner Rob Bryan both from Suffolk Constabulary; have set themselves a new challenge, to paddle 125 miles from Devises in Wiltshire to Westminster.
Neil explained that after supporting Jeff Cribb, a colleague and fellow rider on the Bobby on a Bike team during last year’s charity Kayak, Neil thought it looked like a new challenge and with his canoeing partner Rob they decided to have a go. The most impressive thing is, neither of them had canoed before committing to this event.
Neil Smith and Rob Bryan in training
They started training in July last year and it has been a long and steady paddle to reach this point. Although they’ve had some cold and very wet days after capsizing in the river, their spirits stayed high. They have admitted that their ability to stay more in the kayak than out of it has improved as their training has progressed.
Neil works for the Suffolk Constabulary as a dog handler and for the last 10 years has been raising money for charities by cycling around the UK and aboard with an ever increasing group of riders and supporters.
Neil and Rob, will be taking part together in the race which is allegedly a ‘Canoeist’s Everest’. The event takes place along the Kennett and Avon canal for 54 miles and then feeds into the Thames for the remaining 71 miles of the race. The team will have to negotiate 77 portages (this is where you have to get out of your canoe and carry it around the portage before getting back in), and cope with the tidal ebbs and flows when they reach the final stages on the Thames.
This is an impressive challenge but this comes about 6 weeks before Neil, Rob and the rest of the Bobby on a Bike team, some 56 riders strong, embark on their second charity event of the year which starts (for the main group) on the 27th May at the RNLI Lifeboat station at Aldebugh in Suffolk and ends at Borth RNLI station near Aberystwyth in Wales on the 30th May. This is an amazingly gruelling ride which this year is raising funds for a very worthwhile charity, the RNLI.
But for a selected few, Neil included, it can be made even more difficult. Neil hopes the lead pack of himself, Rob Bryan and Jeff Cribb who intend to complete the 400 mile ride in between 26 – 30 hours. They will be leaving a day later on the 28th May and plan to arrive on the 29th May, a day before the bulk of the riders arrive. The plan is for Neil and the smaller group to overtake the other riders in the Stratford-upon-Avon area. I’m sure the main pack will be cheering them on as they pass, I’m sure they’ll need the encouragement for the final push.
If you have been following Anglian’s blog you will have seen that at the beginning of March we were very proud to announce our sponsorship and association with Bobby on a Bike. If you are interested in learning more about either of the above events and sharing in the excitement please go to Bobby on a Bike or visit suffolk.police.uk