Bourne plumber and ex-Army pals plan to recreate D-Day crossing - by canoe

From left, canoe team members Col, Matt, Stuart, Rich, Ben and Caddy EMN-140513-152952001
From left, canoe team members Col, Matt, Stuart, Rich, Ben and Caddy EMN-140513-152952001
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A former soldier will mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings by canoeing from Portland harbour to Normandy with five colleagues.

More than 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of France on June 6 1944.

The attacks, popularly seen as having marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War, left more than 4,000 dead and almost 6,000 wounded.

Next month Richard Bentley, from Bourne, along with five Army colleagues from around the country, will retrace the 200-kilometre route of the D-Day landing in three, two-seater canoes.

During the Normandy Klepper Challenge they will paddle across the English Channel for some 40 hours, negotiating the heavily-used shipping lanes and unpredictable weather, with the aim of arriving at Normandy’s Gold Beach in the village of Arromanches-Les-Bains on June 6.

Richard, 50, said: “Seventy years ago what all those men did was for the good of the country.

“We want to do something for all those who lost their lives or were wounded and their families, and raise money for good causes at the same time.”

Richard and his team-mates trained at Tallington Lakes and are currently training on the South Coast.

“It’s going to be a big ask,” admitted Richard, a self-employed plumber. “But we are getting mentally and physically fit for it.”

The canoeists will raise funds for a number of charities including the AMAR Foundation, which supports orphans and street children in Basra, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Help for Heroes.

They will pay all their own expenses during training and crossing and all funds donated will go to the charities.

To find out more or to make a donation go to