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Dads’ kayak challenge hopes to raise £5,000 for children’s hospice

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Graham Durcan and Richard Nordsted
Pictured: Graham Durcan and Richard Nordsted

The mum of a seriously ill little girl from Milton Keynes is backing two dads’ 130-mile kayak challenge which will raise thousands of pounds to help care for seriously ill children like her daughter.

Maria Cater, 49, from Great Linford, Milton Keynes, said she’s delighted that friends Graham Durcan and Richard Nordsted are supporting Keech Hospice Care, which has cared for her daughter Presley Stewart, 12, since she was a baby.

“Presley has extensive brain damage caused by contracting group b streptococcal meningitis at just three weeks old. She also has epilepsy and cerebral palsy and is registered blind.

“I don’t know what we would have done without the emotional and practical support Keech Hospice Care has given to us throughout Presley’s life. That’s why we’re so grateful people like Graham and Richard are raising money to help such an amazing local charity.”

Later this month, the pair, known locally as Radar and Bootsie, will be taking on the ‘Seaside to Seasiders’ challenge, kayaking from the Wash in north Norfolk to Fenny Basin in Milton Keynes, before arriving on foot at the MK Dons Stadium to thousands of football fans.

“I have had friends cared for in hospices before, so I’ve witnessed first-hand how incredible their care is,” said Graham, 56. “After finding out that Keech Hospice Care needs around £5.7million every year from the community to fund its care, that was it. We knew we had to do something to support our local children’s hospice.

“It’s important to us that we help the charity to continue supporting seriously ill children and their families in our area. When we visited the hospice in Luton we saw the wonderful care they provide to adults and children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses and we were really moved.”

“We’ve only done something like this before once, and that was for two and a half days and this is six so we’ll see what happens,” said Richard, 52. “This time we’re going against the flow of the river and for the first two days we’re basically in the sea so it’s going to tough with the water coming against us. We’re really looking forward to it – we do love a challenge – and we hope everyone will come out and support us along the way.”

Radar and Bootsie, both big supporters of the MK Dons football team for many years, are aiming to raise £5,000 for Keech Hospice Care. So far they’ve raised more than £4,000 via their JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/radar-bootsie 

Liz Searle, the charity’s CEO, says she has been touched by how far the pair are prepared to go to support their local hospice. 

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support of Radar and Bootsie. The money they raise will help us to continue providing free, specialist care and support for adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire, and children in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Milton Keynes with life-limiting and terminal illnesses, as well as their family and friends. 

“As a charity we believe that everyone facing a terminal or life-limiting illness should receive excellent care and support but to make sure they do, we rely on the community to help us raise 70 per cent of the funding we need for our care which is why what these two men are doing means so much.”

On Saturday 17 March the pair will be showcasing their challenge and drumming up support at the MK Dons match against Bury, before setting off from Norfolk the following day.

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