Kayaker completes challenge to restore part of Halesworth’s industrial heritage

Gerald Burns setting off on his fundraising canoe trip from Halesworth to Southwold.PHOTO: Nick Butc

Gerald Burns setting off on his fundraising canoe trip from Halesworth to Southwold.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A herd of cows, dense reeds beds and an incoming tide all stood in the way of kayaker Gerald Burns.

But despite the obstacles, the 70-year-old managed to travel the length of the Blyth Navigation and raise more than £600 to help restore a piece of the region's industrial heritage.

Mr Burns set off from Patrick Stead's Quay in the centre of Halesworth at 9.30am yesterday (Friday, May 27) carrying a single bag of malt and arrived in Southwold Harbour at about 5pm.

He undertook the 10-mile voyage, which revived the age old tradition of transporting malt by boat from Halesworth to Southwold, in a bid to raise £2,000 to restore a neglected half-mile stretch of the navigation known as the New Reach.

Mr Burns, who enjoyed a well-earned pint in the Harbour Inn following his trip, said: 'I made it. With a bit of help along the way.

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'It was quite difficult up until Wenhaston. It is very overgrown and very weedy so I had a pretty difficult time hopping in and out. At one point I had to get out and drag the kayak across two farmers' fields.'

Mr Burns eventually phoned his back-up team for help and together they dragged the kayak a quarter of a mile to Blyford before relaunching it. On the way they had to negotiate two bulls in a field and a herd of curious cows.

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Mr Burns contemplated calling off the voyage at Blythburgh because the conditions were choppy but bravely carried on against an incoming tide to complete the challenge.

To support Mr Burns, visit www.crowdfunding.justgiving.com/newreach.

Are you trying to raise money for a project? Email kathryn.bradley@archant.co.uk

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