A GROUP of friends will canoe 90 miles along a canal to raise money for an armed forces charity.
David Taylor, 50, of Meynell Street, Church Gresley, and his friends Dean Clifford, 51, of Burton, and Andy Jones, 49, of Derby will spend five days paddling along the Trent and Mersey Canal from Horninglow to the Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove, and back.
They decided to donate the money to Combat Stress, which treats servicemen with mental health problems, after Mr Jones, an ex-serviceman, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder last year.
Mr Taylor told the Mail: “There are so many of our armed forces who are coming back who need help.
“Everybody can see a physical wound but you can’t see people with mental illnesses.
“It can be a debilitating illness because it can break up families if the soldiers don’t get the support that they deserve and can turn their life into hell.
“They have gone out and put their lives on the line for the rest of us and this is a charity which is needed.”
Mr Taylor he will sit in a two-man canoe with Mr Jones while Mr Clifford, who is also an ex-servicemen, will complete the journey in a kayak.
The trio, who all know each other from working at the JCB plant in Foston, will camp alongside the canal for four nights.
Despite not spending any time in a canoe since his teenage years, Mr Taylor said he is relishing the challenge which he vowed to would complete whatever the weather.
He said: “Me and Andy walked this stretch of the canal last year when it was raining.
“We aren’t bothered if it is because we think it’s all part of the challenge.”
Mr Taylor also said they had been putting in extra hours on the water to prepare for the journey.
He said: “We have been going out and starting at the Burton Canoe Club for the last four weeks.”
Anyone who wants to donate to their challenge can visit www.justgiving.com/David-Taylor67