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14/07/2017

English Channel paddle board challenge for Parkinson’s UK

Hove-based husband and wife Andy Peck and Rachel Martin are facing the intrepid challenge of paddle boarding across the English Channel this month, to raise money for Parkinson's UK, the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition.


Together with long-time friends Dr Mark Rance from Brighton and Paul Nash from Twickenham, they will paddle board some 26 miles from Dungeness in Kent to Boulogne-sur-Mer in France through a busy shipping lane, accompanied by expert pilot boats, during the week of 18 July.


Adverse weather prevented Andy from carrying out the challenge last summer, but he was determined to try again because his mum, Gill Cornaby, lives with Parkinson's – a neurological condition that has no cure, and gets worse over time.


Parkinson's can leave people struggling to walk, talk and sleep, and – although there are many treatments and support networks to help people manage the condition – its cause is still unknown.


“We're on a mission to raise funds to tackle Parkinson's, especially as there is no cure yet but medical breakthroughs are within reach. Increased resources could help bring more results sooner, so that people living with Parkinson's like my mum get better treatment, and a cure is found faster,” said Andy.


Paul Jackson-Clark, Fundraising Director at Parkinson's, said: “We're urging people to support this exciting and brave challenge, and wish the Channel Paddle team the best of luck. It's fantastic support, and every pound donated will help bring us closer to the day that no one fears Parkinson's.”


Andy and Rachel spent some of their recent honeymoon training for the crossing, which their house and pet sitting business, TrustedHousesitters is sponsoring. Andy set up TrustedHousesitters – which helps pet lovers to travel more and aims to enrich lives – following two near-death experiences. The company connects thousands of home and pet owners with care-orientated sitters who will look after their home and pets for free, in exchange for a place to stay.


The couple also supports initiatives in their community, such as Dance for Parkinson's – dance classes for those with Parkinson's to help increase mobility and companionship.


Worthing-based K-66 Surf Team, and Fanatic boards, have provided the team's paddle boards.


During 2017, Parkinson's UK is marking the 200th anniversary of surgeon James Parkinson first writing about the condition. The charity's We Won't Wait fundraising campaign highlights how people with Parkinson's still don't have access to drugs that can stop, slow down or reverse it – even though the science is ready and new treatments are within grasp.


To support the Channel Paddle for Parkinson's, please click here.