Hitchin rower, 20, crosses English Channel in kayak for charity

PUBLISHED: 08:26 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19 24 September 2018

Roman Turney, 20, kayaking across the English Channel. Picture: Roman Turney

Roman Turney, 20, kayaking across the English Channel. Picture: Roman Turney

Archant

A 20-year-old Hitchin lad has fulfilled a long-held ambition by kayaking across the English Channel for charity.

Roman Turney, 20, kayaking across the English Channel. Picture: Roman TurneyRoman Turney, 20, kayaking across the English Channel. Picture: Roman Turney

Roman Turney, 20, rowed from Rye Harbour to Boulogne over five and a half hours – keeping at it despite capsizing at one point.

Roman began his interest in kayaking on family holidays to the south coast and the Norfolk Broads, but wanted a bigger challenge – and decided to take on the channel along with a support crew including his dad John.

The 20-year-old told the Comet: “It was something I thought about on a ferry on my way to France, when I saw some kayakers around the French coast.

“They looked very professional, and I thought – what if they had come from England? How great would it be to do that?

“Earlier this year, I saw a sea kayak for sale online one lunchtime and before I knew it, I’d bought it and booked myself in to cross the channel.”

Roman wanted to row the channel a few years ago, but was unable to because of several major operations on his knee.

The young rower left Rye Harbour in East Sussex at 5.30am and headed around the coast to Dungeness in Kent, from where the crossing began.

The winds were stronger than forecasted, making the swells larger and the paddling harder. After capsizing once and stopping to wait for tankers and container vessels to pass, Roman finally made it to Boulogne.

“The highlight was definitely the last five minutes, and reaching the coast line,” he said.

“The sense of achievement was great. The next day, I ached all over.”

He has now completed the challenge to raise money for three causes – East Anglian Air Ambulance, Cancer Research UK and children’s charity The Daisy Garland. He has so far brought in £1,095, more than double his original target of £500.

Cancer Research UK has special significance for Roman as it has supported friends and relatives of his throughout difficult stages in their lives, particularly his late grandmother.

The Daily Garland helps children living with epilepsy, accompanied by developmental delay, and supported one of Roman’s friends in early life.

Donations to Roman’s fundraising total are still welcome at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/roman-kayak-channel.

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