As Storm Katie battered the south east over the Easter weekend, four students from Eton College were battling to complete a kayak challenge to raise vital funds to support our work. 

Teenager William Dobbs and three of his friends took part in the Devizes to Westminster Challenge over the bank holiday weekend. The prospect of paddling 125 miles down the Avon and Kennet Canal and the Rover Thames in two man K2 kayaks, was tricky enough… and then came the gale force winds.

William said: “Sunday was pretty tough. We had 30mph winds, a thunderstorm and a couple of hailstorms to deal with!  Unfortunately the forecast for Monday was even worse, and the organisers had no choice but to shorten the course – the first time ever in the race’s history they’ve called it off as a result of the wind. The race was ended at Teddington, just 17 miles from the planned finish.

“Although we didn’t make it to Westminster we still did 108 miles, including all 77 portages, and have a huge feeling of accomplishment. It was a tiring and exhilarating few days but we’re proud to have raised so much money for a fantastic cause.

If you’re impressed by the grit and determination shown by William (second from left) and his friends Jack (far left), Henry (third from left) and Hal (far right) there is still time to donate. Your kind gift will make a great difference to young people who are leaving care, by helping them to achieve their career goals and improving their confidence and self-esteem.

You can make a donation here.