Matt's Canoeing Challenge

Matt Marshall's Canoeing Challenge for Ocean Stars Trust and a new nursery in Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Thursday 2nd February 2012 :: This Story

matt-marshall-canoe-canal-for-ocean-stars-charity.jpgMy canoeing challenge was to raise funds to complete the building of my nursery project in Sri Lanka. In early 2011 I began to think of something I could do that would really challenge myself and raise the necessary funds at the same time. After discussion with family and friends I decided upon canoeing the length of the Basingstoke Canal - 36 miles from Weybridge to Odiham. I had been an avid kayaker when younger but had not trained or been in a canoe for a number of years - my fitness levels were also questionable at the start of training!

Nevertheless in May I bought the equipment and began training both on the canal and also on occasion in the sea, all with the help and support of my parents.

I set a target to complete the challenge before the group trip to Sri Lanka at the end of October and over the next few months worked to increase the distance covered during each training session. During my training I set up a just giving page and invited friends, colleagues and family to sponsor me.

The day of the challenge arrived and I had lots of support from friends and family cycling and walking alongside en route. The challenge began in the cold and dark at 7am at Weybridge and finally at about 4pm I completed the challenge, arriving at North Warnborough.


£1160 had been pledged for the nursery by this stage, which was more than the original fundraising target. My franchisee from Domino's Pizza has always taken an interest in my trips to Sri Lanka and the work of Ocean Stars - he generously agreed to match the amount I had raised making a total of £2320 and on 24th October 2011 we opened Little Stars nursery during the group trip. The excitement of the local people during our visit and knowing the essential part the nursery will play in community life made it all worthwhile, I hope to revisit Little Stars on upcoming group trips.