Kayakers raise ‘oarsome’ amount for Claire House

Local businessman Mike Dudley has raised over £35,000 for children’s hospice, Claire House, by organising his annual Wirral Kayak Challenge.

The event, which takes place every Summer, began in 2012 when a handful of kayakers paddled around the Wirral Peninsula. Over the last decade, the event has grown bigger and bigger, now attracting around one hundred and fifty people to take to the sea.

Mike, from West Kirby, who also runs West Kirby Building Services, said, “What started as a small event with a group of friends has developed into a huge annual challenge, travelling the Wirral coast by sea. The event is completely safe, with safety boats travelling with us on the day and the RNLI in communication throughout.

“It’s a fantastic day and perfect for beginners or seasoned kayakers. Last year, for the first time, we even had twenty-six experienced paddleboarders who joined us. The route is around 14 miles, which is a long way for paddleboarders, but we’ll be open to experienced paddleboarders taking part again this year.

“We start at Harrison Drive beach in New Brighton and finish at the Dee Sailing Club at Thurstaston, who always put on such a great welcome at the finish, with food and live music. It’s just a perfect day raising money for fantastic local causes. In total, the event has raised over £53,000 for charity.”

Every year, kayakers are encouraged to support a selection of local charities, and Claire House have been involved since 2013.

Claire House Fundraiser Mark Pearson said, “It’s incredible that Mike has chosen to support Claire House every year, raising such an amazing amount of money. It’s a fantastic event and we really appreciate what Mike does. Claire House is looking after more local children and their families than ever before, and this is only possible because of the local community and people like Mike.”

The 2022 Wirral Kayak Challenge is taking place on Sunday 10 July. Please follow Wirral Kayak Challenge on Facebook for more information and to sign up.

Image: (L-R) Claire House Fundraiser Mark Pearson and Mike Dudley

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