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Reigate Scout leader set for charity Thames canoe-a-thon
12:51pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Local News
A Reigate Scout leader is planning to paddle his canoe 60 miles down the Thames in a fundraising 'canoe-a-thon' to mark the 60th anniversary of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society.
Mark Haymes, 37, will be setting out on his challenge on Saturday, March 2, having already raised more than £1,000 in sponsorship.
The trip should take him two days, but he said he would normally only paddle his open canoe around ten miles in one go. Mark, who lives in Crawley but is originally from Horley, is the MS Society’s area fundraiser for the south.
He said: “I’m a canoeist anyway and I wanted to take on a challenge that fits in with what I do.”
However, he added: “But this will be really tough. “Stamina is not so much of a problem - the issue is more about daylight hours and how long it will take.”
Mark will carry camping equipment with him, and will sleep under his canoe overnight. He said his wife Helen “thinks I’m bonkers for doing this challenge.”
Mark grew up in Horley and went to St Bede’s School in Redhill. He said: “I have been in Scouts since I was six - and never left.
“It was Scouting that led to me taking up canoeing and I’m also a member of the Surrey Scout Water Activities Club - www.sswac.co.uk – who are the umbrella club for water activities for young people in Scouting across the county. “I have been kayaking and canoeing for about 25 years, but only seriously started paddling an open canoe about ten years ago.”
He said: “I haven’t raised money for the MS Society before, but who knows after this! I have reached £1065 so far, which is amazing.”
MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults, with most people diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. MS is complex and there are lots of different symptoms, which can include loss of sight and mobility, fatigue and depression. There is no cure and there are few effective treatments. People can sponsor Mark's canoe-a-thon online at: www.justgiving.com/Mark-Haymes The MS Society is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS and funding more than 70 MS research projects in the UK. An estimated 100,000 people in the UK have MS. Website: www.mssociety.org.uk