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Clevedon Canoe Club's 12 hour paddle for Meningitis Now!

We recently heard from Clevedon Canoe Club who set themselves a challenge to complete a 12 hour paddle to raise money for the charity Meningitis Now. 

Despite getting off to a rainy start, the event was a great success with members of the public and the local coastguard joining in too! Some participants had so much fun they plan to come back and join in with Club paddles on the Lake in the future. 

Here they share with us how they did it and why they wanted to raise money for a charity close to some of their members hearts:

We did a 12 hour sponsored paddle for Meningitis Now!

Organisers and volunteers were on Clevedon Seafront bright and early to start setting up tables, gazebos and ergo paddling machines (reading the ever important instructions – and most essential of all, replacing the dead batteries!) 

Orange Meningitis Now T Shirts were worn and gazebos decorated with MN balloons and banners.  A course of orange buoys was set up on the Marine Lake and volunteers were at the ready to record and log every lap paddled.  

Despite the rain we donned our sunshine orange T Shirts and Steve Lawes led the way around the course at 9am accompanied by other club paddlers.  

Members of the public were invited to join us paddling on the Lake for a donation to Meningitis Now and CCC’s volunteers kitted out the public in correctly fitting buoyancy aids and helmets, and our qualified coaches were on the Lake to give instruction and encourage new paddlers around the course on the Lake.

When the sun finally showed itself in the afternoon, things picked up and we were relieved to see people venturing out cautiously.

We were also joined by The Clevedon Coastguard who came along to give instruction on how to throw a line to rescue a swimmer in difficulty. The swimmer in this case was a life size dummy rather than an actual human, and the children in particular went straight from paddling to have a go with a throw line; and learnt several new skills that day. 

We encountered a lot of respect for Meningitis Now and people gave willingly to this charity.  We met individuals that had family members who had suffered with Meningitis and they wanted to paddle on their behalf in support of the charity.  When we gave out Signs and Symptoms Cards for Meningitis and Septicaemia, they were received appreciatively by Grandparents, Parents and Teenagers alike.

My reason for joining the Meningitis Now paddle is that just before my beautiful daughter turned four, she went down with meningitis. I checked the diagrams on a tiny signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia card we had stuck on the fridge, and rushed her to hospital. Thanks to that little card I had acted quickly enough for the doctors and nurses at Southmead to be able to save her life and I vowed that I would do something to pay back the favour that the little card had done for us. The sponsored paddle also had another meaning for me, as I did it when I was recovering from an accident where I had been knocked off my bike, sustaining a broken ankle and torn ligament in my knee. As I sat in the road in pain, my first thought had been, "what if I can't kayak again?".  My knee brace finally came off the day before Clevedon Canoe Club’s Sponsored paddle, and so this was my first test of whether I could paddle again. I managed 20 laps!

– Sarah Webster, Clevedon Canoe Club paddler

Sarah Webster paddling the course with Annette Colbourn

For those who didn’t fancy paddling we had plenty of other fundraising activities on offer!

The Cake Stall was a huge success and people were delighted to find their favourite cakes for sale (the Chocolate Brownies and Sticky Gingerbread were the first to sell out) and this stall raised a substantial amount of money.

For anyone not wanting to risk getting wet on the Lake, we had Ergo Paddling Machines on land,  to record the number of metres you can paddle in 1 minute. There was lots of rivalry as family members challenged each other to test who could paddle the furthest distance.

A more relaxing challenge appealed to the youngest members of the family, guessing the number of pit balls contained in a kayak. The winner guessed 486 with the actual number being 496.

As the sun was setting over the Marine Lake and the final whistle blew at 9pm, club members and members of the public had paddled 645 laps of the Lake.  This equates to a total distance of 327.5 Kilometres OR 203 miles paddled.  Following the SW Coast line from Clevedon Marine Lake, for 203 miles we would have paddled to Land’s End!!