THE uncle of a paratrooper wounded in Afghanistan is going on a gruelling 130-mile canoe trek to raise money for Help for Heroes.
Bill Bell, 54, of Conduit Road, Stamford, has been inspired by his nephew Pte Luke Morrison and other injured servicemen in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, to tackle the Caledonian Canal in Scotland.
Bill and his friend Howard Jenkins will be paddling an open Canadian canoe from Fort William to Inverness and back again in May.
Luke, 23, who is the son of Douglas and Christine Morrison, of Rutland Heights, Stamford, was wounded by a land mine while on patrol in Helmand province on February 19. He lost his left foot and suffered multiple injuries to his right leg.
Bill, who is married to Christine’s sister Marilyn, wanted to do something to help the men and women who have served their country after visiting Luke and his friends in hospital.
“Nobody knows about these poor lads who come back, people only ever hear about lads who unfortunately die,” he said.
“Luke is in a room in hospital with three other lads. Some are missing limbs and they are so positive. It is really humbling. There could not be a better inspiration. These lads will spur me on through a bit of hardship.”
Bill and experienced canoeist Howard, 46, who lives in Clover Road, Market Deeping, will be leaving Stamford on May 28 and hope to tackle the canal in six to seven days.
The canal cuts across Scotland and takes in some of its most famous lakes including the Great Glen, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Louch Dochfur and the famous Loch Ness.
Normally people canoe from Inverness to Fort William to save fighting against the tide but Bill and Howard have decided to start at Fort William.
They will be camping along the way and are aiming to complete 20 to 25 miles a day.
Both Howard and Bill – who has not been in a canoe since he was 17, have started training and will be paddling between Market Deeping and Spalding at the weekend.
If anyone would like to support Bill and Howard in their efforts go to www.bmycharity.com/2grumpyoldmeninacanoe