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Fire crews take to kayaks in charity bid

(left to right) Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson (48), Hayling RNLI boat crew member Dan Wilkin (26), Hayling RNLI shore team member Paul Cobon (52), Hayling RNLI boat crew member Steve Gosling (40),  Hampshire Fire & Rescue Havant Watch Manager Martyn Elliott (42), and  Hampshire Fire & Rescue Hayling Island Watch Manager  Mark Pannell (44)

Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-3300) ENGPPP00320130517105232

(left to right) Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson (48), Hayling RNLI boat crew member Dan Wilkin (26), Hayling RNLI shore team member Paul Cobon (52), Hayling RNLI boat crew member Steve Gosling (40), Hampshire Fire & Rescue Havant Watch Manager Martyn Elliott (42), and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Hayling Island Watch Manager Mark Pannell (44) Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-3300) ENGPPP00320130517105232

FIREFIGHTERS are mostly used to putting out fires but they will be testing their skills on the water instead in a fundraising event.

Crews from Havant and the surrounding areas are swapping their fire engines for kayaks to raise money for charity.

Hayling Island, Havant and Emsworth fire services are teaming up to kayak 18 miles around Hayling Island.

Money raised on the day will be spilt equally between The Fire Fighter’s Charity and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The challenge, now in its third year, is encouraging all ages to take part in kayaking event.

Mark Pannell, a firefighter from Hayling Island, said: ‘It’s a really good day out and the best way to see the island.

‘It is such a social event and there’s a barbecue at the end which is great.

‘We have got 75 kayakers signed up for this year including a 75-year-old and a 14-year-old so it’s for all ages.’

The kayaking challenge was organised as a joint effort by Martyn Elliot, Perry Dodgson and Mark Pannell from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Last year saw 40 kayakers take to the water and they raised £4,000 for the charities but the firefighters hope to beat last year’s target.

Mark added: ‘The idea came because I’m really into kayaking and I spoke to Martyn and Perry who were both really up for 
it.

‘It would really be fantastic to raise more than last year.’

During the 18-mile kayak, participants including members of the public as well as the fire service will be able to stop for two well-deserved breaks.

On their way around the island kayakers can put down their oars at The Langstone Sailing Club and The Inn on The Beach.

After an exhausting day on the water, the day will end with a barbecue, drinks and live band at Hayling RNLI station.

The Around Hayling Kayak Challenge will take place on Saturday, June 28, starting at Hayling RNLI station.

 

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