For some of our supporters, fundraising challenges are a chance to go big, to test their physical and mental limits and reap the rewards of success – all the while, knowing that they have helped make a difference to the lives of young people, children and babies with serious or terminal conditions.

And with that being said, we would like to introduce the next instalment of our ‘inspirational fundraisers’ series – a team of sailors from the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent. Warrant Officer Tony Buckley has kindly shared with us an insight into their August 2020 extreme canoeing challenge.

Royal Navy HMS Kent

“So, here’s the tale of a group of fundraisers from the Royal Navy – HMS Kent who became affiliates of Demelza Hospice Care for Children due to the location of their hospice in Sittingbourne. Aware that fundraising in the COVID-19 era was becoming progressively difficult, a team of sailors looked to a visible yet safe venture to raise funds for the amazing team at Demelza.

“The challenge decided upon was a canoe race across the width of the UK, from the west coast to the Thames Estuary in Kent its self – a trip of some 160 miles to be completed in four days. A team of Royal Navy sailors used a week of their own leave period in August 2020 to partake in what would become a real team-building event and a proud moment for all.

“Along the route challenges included commercial shipping, weirs and rapids, 105 canal locks (including the intimidating Caen Hill locks in Devizes which rises 72m in two miles), biting insects and some impressive blisters.

“Along the challenge, the team flew the flag for Demelza’s hospices, literally, spreading the word of the amazing work that the team do via mouth along the canals and river paths, via billboards and by every radio station that the support crew could get through to, including BBC Radio One and Two.

“Due to a canal-clogging infestation of river weed in Reading and again in central London, the team, unfortunately, fell just short of reaching the Thames Estuary, eventually settling to meet Community Fundraisers, Nicola and Vicky from Demelza, at a modified finish line at Camden Lock in East London.”

The dedicated team of Royal Navy sailors raised a fantastic £3,361. This amount of money could help us to buy appropriate toys for over 105 children and siblings who use Demelza’s services, to be delivered to them this Christmas by a special Demelza Elf.

Tony continues: “The team vowed that they would return to raise funds for our adopted charity again and, despite spending the vast majority of 2021 on the far side of the globe, HMS Kent already has plans for a similar, challenging fundraiser in early 2022.”

Extreme fundraising ideas

HMS Kent Cheque Presentation

We can’t wait to hear what HMS Kent and the team of sailors have planned for 2022. If you’ve been inspired to challenge yourself and help raise vital funds for Demelza, then take a look at our extreme challenges coming up over the next year. Including our Demelza Skydive, the London Marathon and a once in a lifetime, 10 day Mount Kilimanjaro trek.

Get in touch

Interested in setting up your own fundraising challenge? Our community fundraising team are available to answer any questions you might have about fundraising and support you with your events.

For more inspiration and fundraising ideas, visit our fundraise for us page.