We first met Harry at one of Claire Lomas’ brilliant fundraising events – Pogo Pandemonium in 2015. Earlier this year we were delighted when Harry got back in touch and told us that he had finalised the plans for his epic challenge. Starting just outside of Devizes in Wiltshire, he kayaked through the night, covering 130 miles and touching base with his support team, led by Lucy Jackson every 5 miles.
Harry set his original fundraising target as £1000, but on the day he set off his Just Giving had already raised an impressive £2,544.33 – the final total was over £5,000 including Gift Aid! Congratulations Harry and a massive thank you to everyone who donated!
Later on in the week, when he had caught up on his sleep we asked Harry some questions about his challenge.\r\n
- Why is research into spinal injury so important to you?
\r\nSpinal research is important to many in all walks of life but particularly with those involved in horses. I’m a keen point to point jockey, plus I ride in most XC races and hunt a fair bit. As well as this, Lucy Jackson my other half is a top level event rider and everyone knows the risks involved in these disciplines. This year in particular has seen notable riders such as W Fox Pitt and Andrew Nicholson being prone to serious injury. Any contribution made to finding a cure for spinal cord injury has to be a positive one.\r\n
- What made you decide to paddle 130 miles?
\r\nThe traditional Devizes to Westminster course is 125 miles but I thought that I would round it up to 130 to make it 5 marathons. Most folks have an appreciation of what it takes to complete a marathon in a day, so I thought that 5 of them in just over a day has more impact when trying to persuade people to donate.\r\n
- Were you nervous about the challenge?
\r\nI knew it was going to be tough. Staying awake for 40hrs is hard enough without paddling for 32 of them and on top of this there is the physical effort that it takes. The thought of failing is motivation enough so yes, there was an element of nerves because no one likes to let anyone down. I’d certainly told enough people that I was doing it, so there was no getting away from it if I didn’t get there for whatever reason. I cut it quite fine and the tide was already on the turn, paddling into a headwind as well as an incoming tide would have been impossible. At one point I even started working out the logistics of getting out of the river and carrying my kayak for the last few miles so that I could say that I had genuinely completed it. Thankfully it didn’t quite come to that!\r\n
- How does it feel not only to have accomplished a 130 mile challenge but to have also raised such a vast amount for nsif?
\r\nThe current figure of over £5K has exceeded all expectations and that is still rising. It makes the pain endured definitely worth it!!
Special thanks to…
Special thanks to Lucy Jackson, who is also a team New Zealand event rider, my mother Caroline Nunneley, Nick Meek, a fellow point to point jockey, and his girlfriend Jess Moody. They all shared the 40 hrs without sleep and were there throughout. Thank you also goes to Alice from the nsif team for being there to greet me at such an antisocial time!!!