Unique canoe challenge gives healthy funding boost

Unique canoe challenge gives healthy funding boost
Simon Outhwaite’s innovative idea to raise money through a five-canoe, ten person challenge from Oxford to Windsor has netted an amazing £9,000 so far for Ronald McDonald House Charities. The donation will go towards the running costs of the Charity’s Oxford facility, providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families of children being treated at John Radcliffe Hospital.

Simon’s first grandchild, Bella, spent the first five weeks of her life in the hospital during which time his daughter and partner, Keely and Darrell, had the opportunity to be near her in the relaxed and comfortable surroundings of the House.

Keen to ensure other families going through the trauma of an ill child in hospital can have the same support, Simon planned a very different challenge with his family and close friends.
The task was never intended to be easy. It required the craftsmanship of Simon and one of his work colleagues, Ian Goldswain, to build two of the canoes out of wood rather than fibreglass, and then with family and friends, canoeing 70 miles from Osney Marina in Oxford to the finish in a pub in Windsor for celebrations and a raffle. Moreover, some of the team had hardly stepped into a canoe before other than during their school days.

After huge time and effort, the team of ten set off on Friday 8 July on the three day event, beating squally weather and more than a few aches and pains on a frugal journey, with a basic scout hut serving as their resting place on the first night.

Simon says:
“It was a tough challenge and I am grateful to the whole team for helping me to make
it all happen. We had a few adventures along the way dodging motor boats and rowers, but we came through to finish on time. All who took part are amazed at people’s generosity and kindness. It is beyond belief; the monies raised will help so many.”
Michelle Francis, House Manager at Ronald McDonald House Oxford says:
 “Bella’s parents spent quite some time with us and we were glad to be able to ease the worry for them by providing somewhere for them to wash, cook and rest – away from the ward. We are pleased that she is now home and able to progress in the normality of family life.  We cannot thank Simon and his whole family enough for this supreme effort to help keep our doors open for others who need our ‘home away from home’ in the future.”
To find out more about Ronald McDonald House Charities and how to support them, visit: www.rmhc.org.uk.

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For further information please contact:
Georgie Curtis-Iddiols or Lucy Yelland, Third Sector PR
T. 020 7922 770 M. 07515499662 E. lucy@thirdsectorpr.co.uk
Notes to editors
1. Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent charity that provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at hospitals across the UK. The Charity enables seriously ill children to have their families close by when they are undergoing treatment and allows them to maintain a degree of normal family life.
2. Ronald McDonald House Oxford is currently located on the top floor of the Oxford Children’s Hospital at John Radcliffe Hospital. It has 17 bedrooms as well as a kitchen, lounge and playroom. Last year it helped over 650 families stay together, close to their seriously ill children.  Planning permission to build a larger purpose-built 62 bedroom House on the hospital campus to meet rising demand was granted on Wednesday 6 July 2016.
3. There are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK and in 2015, they helped support over 7,000 families with children in hospital.
4. Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers, including McDonald’s customers, without whom it would be unable to continue its work.
5. The Charity was founded in 1989 and has been keeping families together for more than 25 years.
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