DCSIMG

D-Day canoe crossing raises £25,000

Richard Bentley (centre), Colin Richardson and Ben Collins complete their challenge and arrive at Arromanches-les-Baines - crossing the 200km Channel in 36 hours. EMN-140624-115404001

Richard Bentley (centre), Colin Richardson and Ben Collins complete their challenge and arrive at Arromanches-les-Baines - crossing the 200km Channel in 36 hours. EMN-140624-115404001

A determined team of canoeists have crossed the Channel - despite “exceptionally bad weather” forcing them to abandon their initial attempt.

Bourne man Richard Bentley and four colleagues had planned the crossing to France to coincide with D-Day to retrace the Normandy landing’s 136 mile route.

But attempts by the 50-year-old plumber and his four team mates on June 4 were aborted after two of the canoes were lost in six-metre high waves.

Richard and the two remaining members - Colin Richardson and Ben Collins - decided on a second attempt.

They left Portland Marina at 6.30pm on June 18 in two collapsible canoes (Kleppers) and 36 hours later on 20 June landed at Arromanches-les-Baines, in Normandy.

Richard said: “On our first attempt we got about 25 miles. But the weather was too bad to continue. The Channel was much calmer during the second attempt. It was hard work and we were all terribly tired but we were determined to complete the challenge.

“It was a fantastic experience. At night with the moon and the stars above us it was very beautiful and peaceful.”

Even though the team could not be there for 6 June, to remember the D-Day casualties and their families they have raised £25,000 for six charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Help for Heroes and the AMAR Foundation which supports orphans and street children in Basra.

Donations can still be made at http://www.normandyklepperchallenge.co.uk

 

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