Members of Swindon ATBShop’s Paddle Boarding Club are taking to the water on Thursday 1 September as part of a massive relay to raise awareness for a cleaner Thames.
Hundreds of boarders will take turns in paddling from the source of the river at Cricklade to sea, just past London.
ATBShop members, friends and family will be taking a baton of water on it’s second leg of its journey from Lechlade to Radcot.
The baton of water is to symbolise the clean water which we should expect in the Thames. The route from Lechlade to Radcot doesn’t sound hard at all but there’s plenty of dangers ahead. The team will have to take on three locks, weirs, boats and bridges and all before it gets too dark, as their start time will be at 5pm. This is when the first team travelling from Cricklade are expected to reach the first handover at Lechlade.
For the team it’s going to be gruelling non-stop paddling for three and a half hours to reach the Swan Inn at Radcot before dark.
The team will be made up of mostly experienced riders, but also some less experienced riders, so it’s will be vital to work as a team and keep an eye on each other. A support crew will be monitoring the boarders, just in case the team gets into difficulties.
After they reach Radcot the baton of water will be passed on to the next team and so on until it reaches it’s final leg in London where hundreds of paddle boarders will be meeting to take park in a 30 mile marathon around London, lapping the docklands. Then a support boat will follow the rest of the paddle boarders past the Thames Barrier out to sea. To take part in this part of the relay riders much each raise £500 a board for charity to take part.
Diana Kirk of ATBShop Swindon said: “We’ve been asked to publicise this event as much as possible to highlight the amount of rubbish and pollution in the Thames.
“To help us do this and also raise some money for a good cause we’ve asked all our friends, family and customers to donate to Brighter Futures, the charity set up to raise money for a new radiotherapy unit at the Great Western Hospital Swindon.
“At present patients having treatment for cancer have to travel to either Bath or Oxford, often on a daily basis. My mother, a very private person, is undergoing both radiotherapy and chemotherapy and has asked us to raise this money for the new unit. It won’t help her as the new unit won’t be open until 2018, but it will help future generations.”
Friends, family and supporters are invited to welcome the Swindon paddle boarders who aim to reach Radcot by 9.30pm on Thursday 1 September and celebrate in the pub.