A man from Kent has set himself the challenge of paddleboarding all the way from Cricklade to London.
He is setting off from the source of the Thames, and the 85-mile journey is set to take Martyn Bentley five to six days – but he is hoping it will all be worth it as he raises money for the charity, Barnardo’s.
Martyn knows first-hand what the impact of being in care is as a child and feels that now is the time to give back, to help other people facing similar struggles.
He went into care when he was five years old, and felt as though he was still affected by some parts of his past, and the things he went through.
“I don’t think I’d fully dealt with everything that impacted me when I was younger”, he explained.
“I didn’t fit in that well at boarding school and it wasn’t until I pretty much broke down that I realized how I was feeling.”
The father-of-three now works at Heathrow as a duty aircraft engineer and got the idea after getting into paddle boarding for a few years.
Driving along the motorway, Martyn decided that he needed to do something that wasn’t just for himself, and family during a time when things weren’t feeling the easiest.
He added: “Last year I wasn’t in a great place. I thought, I need to get myself fit and well so this made it the perfect idea.
“I was looking at the river and that’s when the idea first came to me.
“When I told people to work about it everyone was so supportive and said it would be an amazing thing to do.
“I know it won’t be easy but it will be an adventure, and in life you’ve got to find ways round things.”
Martyn has recently received a donation of £20,000 on his JustGiving page where he has now raised £21,239 – giving him even more of a boost before he sets off on August 22.
“I’m feeling the pressure now but I’m looking forward to it”, he noted.
Jo Hewitt from Barnardo’s said: “We can’t thank Martyn enough for his fundraising efforts. We’re so impressed with his dedication and thankful to those who have given so generously.”
All money raised will be used to support the vulnerable children and families that Barnardo’s works. Every penny will help to make a positive difference.”