After recently launching the COVID Bounceback Fund, Team Army and Ultra are proud to announce that the first recipients are some truly inspiring athletes on a mission to kayak from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Kayak 4 Heroes is a team of five injured & wounded veterans aiming to achieve a world first by becoming the first adaptive team to take on this challenging route and to beat the current record held for completing the journey of 35 days.
Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland, CEO Team Army said, ‘This challenge completely embodies the spirit of our Bounceback fund. It will not only provide a highly rewarding and transformative experience for those involved, it should inspire and motivate others to move beyond their disability, regain confidence and recapture their zest for life’.
Simon Pryce, Chief Executive Ultra Electronic Holdings plc said, ‘Ultra is committed to acting as a positive force in the communities in which we operate. We are very proud to be honouring the commitment and sacrifices made by the forces, particularly through this Covid fund and the creation of our new Armed Forces Charter to recognise, respect and show gratitude for military and forces’ service. We are delighted that Kayak 4 Heroes have been chosen as the first recipients from the fund, they brilliantly symbolise our EMPOWERING and PERFORMING company values and we wish them the very best of success in their inspiring mission.’
Liz Winfield, Kayak4Heroes said, ‘It is incredible to build these amazing partnerships that allow us to be able to give back to the AFPST, ensuring that this epic challenge makes a real impact beyond the water. We welcome Team Ethos and Ultra aboard ‘.
In August 2021, the team will set off on the 1,400-kilometre journey from Land’s End in Cornwall and will tackle some of the United Kingdom’s toughest waters before arriving at John O’ Groats in Scotland. The route features two inland sections covering approximately 400 kilometres of the total distance. The first of these two passageways will lead the team inland through the Bristol Channel before heading up the River Severn and canal networks of the West Midlands. The second section will pass through Scotland’s famous Caledonian Canal which passes through Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy and Loch Ness (150 kilometres).
‘By undertaking this adventurous challenge, we will have to overcome our respective injuries and disabilities if we are to succeed. Our aim is to inspire and motivate those struggling with mental and physical health issues in our country by demonstrating that it is possible to overcome disability and find strength in adversity.’
For further information on Kayak4Heroes visit kayak4heroes.co.uk
‘Paddle, eat, sleep, repeat as a team – one challenge at a time’.
Former mountaineer and Army Reservist, Darren was involved in a serious climbing accident which paralysed him from the chest down. Kayaking has been the most important part of his physical and emotional recovery and has enabled him to find strength through adversity.
Carl served in the Army as a member of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps for much of his career. Despite being on the end of a career-ending spinal injury, which has required numerous surgeries, Carl is an accomplished athlete and has gravitated towards endurance cycling in recent years.
Former RAF Regiment Gunner was seriously wounded during operations in Afghanistan after stepping on an IED during a routing foot patrol. In the face of adversity, the determined athlete fought back to become a stronger, and now respected, international competitor, competing in some of the worlds most arduous marathons.
Whilst serving in the British Army Ben was shot numerous times and received blast/fragmentation injuries to both arms and upper torso. Prior to his injuries he had a successful military career. Ben has a passion for exploring, expeditions and endurance events whilst always striving for excellence.
Former Army Officer and ultra-marathon runner, Jonny was paralysed down his left side by a brain bleed. He is now a cross country skier, climber and endurance athlete.
Also supporting the Kayak4Heroes team is Ollie Ollerton, former UK Special Forces Soldier and directing staff (DS) from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins. A hugely successful show that brought the Special Forces into the public eye and showed how mental strength and physical power could combine to incredible effect. Ollie is now CEO of BREAK-POINT, an organisation for both public and corporate that focuses on changing peoples limiting beliefs and performance.
THE BOUNCEBACK FUND
The Team Army Sports Foundation, in association with Ultra Electronics Holdings plc (Ultra), recently created the COVID Bounceback Fund to help armed forces groups and communities recover from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The trustees will award grants to support activities which create the opportunity to improve mental and physical wellbeing in armed forces personnel, including WIS veterans, through sport, challenge or adventure during 2021 or 2022.