Norwich man sails from Bristol to Yarmouth

David BaleA self-employed builder from Norwich is sailing his boat to Bristol and back to raise money for a blood cancer charity - and plans to increase his fundraising by stopping to play blues gigs along the way.David Bale

A self-employed builder from Norwich is sailing his boat to Bristol and back to raise money for a blood cancer charity - and plans to increase his fundraising by stopping to play blues gigs along the way.

Simon Whitney, 52, from Earlham Road, was inspired to undertake the 850-mile journey for Leukaemia and Lym-phoma Research after hearing about the experiences of families affected by blood cancers.

The married father of two said: 'I have also had personal experience of people who have suffered from leukaemia.

'Patients and their families are put under incredible strain and the best way to lessen the impact is through re-search. I want to do everything I can to help.'


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Mr Whitney ran the London Marathon in 2001 for the Clic Sargant cancer charity, but he's expecting this to be even tougher.

'It'll be tough and there are potential dangers like sandbanks, but I've given myself plenty of time, so I can sail in daylight and lay low if the weather turns bad.

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'My boat, The Queen Vic's quite fast so I'm fairly confident I'll make it to the gigs. If things don't go quite to plan I could be sleeping on beaches or busking on the quayside, but that's all part of the adventure.'

Setting out from Bristol dock with the morning tide on Wednesday, June 30, he will sail along the Severn estuary and around the south coast, stopping to perform blues gig en route.

Despite not having attempted such a long voyage on open water before, he is confident he can cope with chal-lenges such as crossing the Thames estuary.

The keen sailor and musician is aiming to average 30 miles a day in order to return to Norwich via the River Yare in time for a homecoming gig at the Heartsease pub in the city on July 31.

He will be supported on his journey by a group of family and friends who will transport his guitar and heavy PA system from venue to venue.

Kate White, Director of Fundraising at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, said: 'We wish Simon the best of luck with his sailing adventure. All the money raised will help us continue to invest in groundbreaking research into blood cancers.'

To support Simon visit: http://www.justgiving.com/simon-whitney. For more information on where he will be playing, visit: http://simonsbluescruze.moonfruit.com.

Further information about Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, including patient information booklets, is available from www.llresearch.org.uk or on 020 7405 0101.

Are you planning something extraordinary for charity? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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