Village girl ‘paddles for nanny’

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An 11-year-old West Chiltington girl took on a kayaking challenge this month and helped raise £8,000 for a dementia charity.

Marie Bew’s grandmother was recently diagnosed with early signs of Alzheimer’s. Concerned for her future, Marie and her father Paul decided to get wet and do The Aviation 3 Lakes Challenge on May 18 to raise money for Henfield-based charity, Know Dementia.

Twenty people paddled the lakes of Ullswater, Conniston and Windemere at a distance of 23 miles in a 10-hour time frame - the team completed it in just six hours and 28 minutes.

Paul of Tailored Aviation said: “As soon as we started to raise sponsorship and publicise the event we received support from a wide range of people and with many of our colleagues in other companies within the aviation business volunteering to take part.

“My daughter Marie also wanted to help and as she put it – paddle for Nanny.

“As the event grew we decided to recognise where the support came from and so named the event - the Aviation 3 Lakes Challenge.

“We had a total of 20 participants taking part from many different aviation companies, with ages ranging from 11 to over 50.”

Know Dementia founder Jennie Morrison-Cowan was thrilled with the outcome.

She said: “This 11-year-old is magic. She pulled her weight as good as the adults and certainly ‘The Mountains to Water Team’ who we had booked to provide the event, thought she was a star in the making. The whole team were superb.”

Paul, who accompanied his daughter on the challenge, added: “It was a good day and the sense of achievement at the finish was huge – albeit there were definitely times during the day when the heavens opened that it looked unlikely, but it then brightened up and things started to improve.”

Tailored Aviation funded the main event so the charity could maximise the benefits.

To help transport those taking part, the Railway Inn in Billingshurst did their part and donated a minibus.

Paul explained why Know Dementia is so vital to people.

He said: “When my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s the support available was patchy and fraught with worry over levels of care and support.

“However the support they both receive from Know Dementia has relieved much of the worry on this so in order to ensure the support continued to remain available myself and a colleague decided to raise funds.”