Seahouses kayaker finishes 900-mile Legion fund-raiser
Army veteran Dan Smith has finished his gruelling challenge, in which he has kayaked the length of Great Britain in a bid to raise Â£25,000 for the Royal British Legion.
The father-of-two, from Seahouses, has kayaked more than 900 miles over the past 60 days, becoming the first person to complete the route.
He started his mission in the Scottish Highlands in August, camping by night, and finished at Littlehampton in West Sussex on Saturday.
After crossing the finishing point, Dan, 39, said: “Completing the paddle is one of my proudest achievements, going through a unique endurance challenge was a huge goal.
“This year marks the landmark 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. I felt passionate about the raising money for the Royal British Legion. With no surviving veterans from World War One, it feels more important than ever to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of future generations.
“I hope the Paddle of Britain encourages people to stop and think about that day 100 years ago, but also to spare a thought for the men and women all over the country who have served and are still serving in the armed forces.
“I also hope that I’ve inspired people to get out there and embark upon their own challenges. I’m very grateful to my friends, colleagues, fellow military veterans, sponsors and all the many incredible people that I have met along the way who cheered me on and supported me by donating.
“In particular, I want to thank my family, especially my wife and two children, I can’t wait to give them a massive hug now the paddling has finished!”
Simon O’Leary, assistant director of fund-raising at the Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted that Dan has been able to complete this epic challenge to raise money for the Legion. As a former soldier himself, he is aware that this kind of effort allows us to provide support to veterans, serving personnel and their families when they need it most. To have done this in 2018 is particularly significant, however, as we will all be taking time to remember and thank those who lived through the First World War. We are very grateful to Dan - congratulations on a brilliant effort.”
Nick Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, had this to say: “I think Dan is incredible and we are absolutely delighted to see his inspirational Paddle of Britain challenge finish here in Littlehampton. His Paddle from the north of Scotland to the south of England over the last 53 days has been a gruelling test of his endurance. The support here on the finish line in West Sussex has demonstrated what a truly heroic achievement it is. Huge congratulations to Dan.”