Local charity benefits from Guiness World Record kayaking fundraiser

By Jessica Durston - 21 April 2022

  • Gordon Bullock and Chris Sze

    Gordon Bullock and Chris Sze

Two men have set a new Guinness World Record for kayaking this Easter whilst raising over £2,000 for the Youth Adventure Trust.

Two friends have set a new record this Easter for paddling the length of the Thames in a double kayak from Lechlade to Teddington Lock, in just over 24 hours.

Chris Sze and Gordon Bullock are friends, keen kayakers and are both in their 60’s. They live a very active lifestyle and say they both share an inspiring common value - “to add life to years but not adding years to life."

Chris and Gordon used this as a fundraising opportunity as well as their own personal challenge, and they have raised over £2300 in donations for the Swindon and Wiltshire charity, the Youth Adventure Trust.

The Trust runs an outdoor adventure programme to help vulnerable young people in Swindon and Wiltshire develop confidence, resilience and skills.

They set out to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to travel the River Thames by double canoe/kayak between South West’s Lechlade and Teddington Lock – a distance of 125 miles with 44 locks. The record previously stood at 1 day 11 hrs.

The paddlers had a support crew of 11 to follow them by road, as well as friends monitoring their progress using their on-board tracker. The journey began at 10:30am at Gloucestershire’s Lechlade Bridge on Easter Saturday morning.

The Mayor of Lechlade attended to be one of the official witnesses required by the Guinness organisation. Chris and Gordon then paddled on during the warm weather, past Oxford and Abingdon, pausing only for pit-stops with their support crew who kept them supplied with energy drinks and flapjacks during their journey. 

They had calculated that they would need to maintain an average of 6.5 miles per hour, day and night, in order to achieve their goal of finishing in under 24 hours.

At around midnight they reached Reading, where their route joined up with that of the famous long-distance Devizes to Westminster race. Onwards they paddled, through the cold night, until they reached Teddington Lock on Easter Sunday morning, 24 hours and 12 minutes after they had set out.

Subject to confirmation by Guinness World Records, the pair smashed the previous record by nearly 11 hours.

Natalie Levin, Philanthropy Manager at the Youth Adventure Trust, said: “Building resilience in the face of challenge is what the Youth Adventure Trust is all about. But it’s not just young people who we help through outdoor adventure!

"Chris and Gordon have shown that anyone can step out of their comfort zone and build their own resilience - just like we do with the young people on our programme. Chris and Gordon, and their supporters, are making a very real difference to the lives of vulnerable young people.”

More information about the Youth Adventure Trust can be found online at https://www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk/

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