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by Will Jeanes
Four colleagues braved six-foot waves and torrential rain in a kayaking charity challenge around Kent’s coast.
Luke Quilter, Anthony Klokkou, Lee Hutton and Tom Barry slogged for five days along the length of the county’s 150-mile coastline in aid of military charity Combat Stress.
The quartet from Folkestone-based online social marketing agency Sleeping Giant Media took on the gruelling task as part of their goal to raise £10,000 for the cause this year.
Starting in Camber Sands on Monday, August 4, the group travelled 30 miles a day, finishing at Erith on Friday.
Their journey saw them paddle to the Warren in Folkestone on Monday, Ramsgate on Tuesday, Whitstable on Wednesday and Tilbury on Thursday.
The route involved paddling through the Dover Strait, the busiest international seaway in the world.
Marketing manager Mr Hutton, 40, from Folkestone – who is a former pupil at Frank Montgomery School in Canterbury – said: “We had a tough start when we set off on Monday, as we had to contend with waves over six feet – the highest we have ever encountered.
“We worked as a team to help each other through it, and all in all, it was a fantastic experience.
“One of the real highlights for me was getting up close to some amazing wildlife.
“We saw dolphins off Camber Sands and seals at Dungeness and the Thames Estuary.”
The group have completed several fundraisers this year, including the 100km London to Brighton Walk in June, the British 10k London Run and the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in July.
Remarkably, none of them had any experience of kayaking before undertaking four months of training for their latest challenge.
Ex-Harvey Grammar School for Boys student Mr Klokkou, 29, from Folkestone, said: “I was so relieved when we were on the final stretch, paddling towards Erith, and could see our family and friends on the riverside waiting for us.”
Managing director Luke Quilter, 30, lives in Hythe, and also attended Harvey Grammar School for Boys in Folkestone.
Search account executive Tom Barry, 23, lives in Sittingbourne and went to Borden Grammar School in the town.
Combat Stress provides free-of-charge mental health treatment to British war veterans. In Kent alone, it supports more than 150 veterans.
To donate, text CSGM49 plus the amount to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/ChallengeSGM2013.
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