A TEAM of eight young people from Ballymoney is taking to the waters on a ‘never before done’ trip of a lifetime.
Davy Campbell (49) from Antrim Park in the town, who suffers from lung cancer, and a group of eight aged between 16-21 from the borough, are setting off from the Barmouth in Portstewart in kayaks and head around 200 miles to Dublin.
Their journey starts at the Barmouth on the lower Bann and they will proceed onto the upper Bann and other waterways before completing the journey into Dublin.
The intrepid team are planning to start their journey on July 18 to raise vital funds for Sick Children and the Alzheimers Society.
Speaking to the Times, Davy explained: “The reason that we have choose to kayak from the Barmouth to Dublin is because it has never been done before.
“We are doing it to raise money for Sick Children and the Alzheimers Society. These charities where chosen by us as both charities have special meaning and are close to our hearts. Some of us have lost grandparents or close relatives to Alzheimers while I lost a young cousin to a terminal illness and I myself suffer from a terminal illness.
“I suffer from Emphysema commonly known as lung cancer. Over the past couple of years I have had three heart attacks, two mini-strokes and have had several blood transfusions.”
He has been in hospital many times and yet throughout all these challenges he is prepared raise money for these charities because they mean a lot to him.
“I also feel that these two charities don’t get as big a mention or are as well publicised as some other charities so we wanted to take this opportunity to promote both more.”
Davy continued: “The whole journey could take anything from two to three weeks and is roughly about 200 miles. We will be stopping every two to three days and camping overnight just to give ourselves a break and to get some rest.
“As you can imagine this kayak journey is a tough and gruelling one and our training is already under way. We have been going down to the Agivey Bridge to train most Sundays. However, this is just the start of our training, it will get more intense as the event draws closer. Most of those taking part have kayaked before and so they know the basics.
“There’s obviously going to a lot of highs and lows and it’s going to need a great amount of team spirit, hard work and dedication but I feel the lads are 100% committed to the challenge and raising much needed money for these important charities.”
The difference between a canoe and a kayak is that you have to sit inside a canoe whereas with a kayak you sit on top off it and this is the main reason for choosing a kayak over a canoe.
Davy said: “Kayaks are safer, it means that if the water is rough and the boat capsizes then it is easier to get out and you don’t get trapped in it.”
If you want to hear more about their journey then keep your ears tuned to the local radio station Fuse FM run by the Ullans Centre, Ballymoney, They will be promoting this event and keeping you up to date with how the team is getting on throughout July and August. The group are hoping to make it a yearly event.