Heidi's Heroes | Woods on Water – family set for 125-mile Thames paddle
Heidi’s Heroes is a Cheltenham-based charity that provides practical support, care and courage to people of all ages across Gloucestershire when they need it most.
heidis heroes, cheltenham, swimming, heidi wood
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07 Sep Woods on Water – family set for 125-mile Thames paddle

Two generations of a Cheltenham family are preparing to paddle their own kayaks and canoes down the River Thames this month – in support of local charity Heidi’s Heroes.

Paul Wood, 51, who set up Heidi’s Heroes as a tribute to his wife Heidi who died of cancer, will be joined by his son Tom, 21 and brother Richard, 47 and Richard’s 11-year-old son Dylan for the fundraising ‘Woods on Water’ event.

Family friend Malcolm Clarke will also be taking part in a support role.

The epic paddle begins on Saturday 26th September and is set to take just over five days. Their ‘Woods on Water’ river adventure will include 48 locks and five overnight camps alongside the Thames.

Dylan Jones-Wood, Richard’s son, is a pupil at St James’ Primary School in Cheltenham and will be joining his Dad, uncle and cousin on Day One of the Challenge – a 25 mile stretch.

Richard said: “Dylan has done some kayaking in north Devon but has never attempted this sort of distance so he will just keep paddling for as long as he can.  Since the charity was launched he’s been saying he wants to do something in memory of his Auntie Heidi, so this seemed a good opportunity.”

Between them the ‘Woods on Water’ are aiming to raise £4,000 and are hoping work colleagues, business contacts, friends, family and, for Dylan classmates, will give generously.

Paul, who runs Planet Property Development Ltd, and his son Tom, an apprentice electrical engineer at Spirax Sarco, will be taking to the Thames in Canadian canoes, while Richard, a Graphic Design Director at Bovis Homes and Dylan will be in kayaks.

Paul said: “Richard and I are not really known for our physical fitness so we are expecting this to be quite a challenge. We are aiming for about 25 miles a day and have drawn up an itinerary of camp sites, showers and pubs where we can camp overnight.”

The Woods enter the Water at Lechlade on Thames and then paddle downstream to finish at Teddington Lock near London on Thursday lunchtime, October 1st.

Donations can be made via Virgin Money Giving on individual pages for Richard and Dylan and a team page for Paul and Tom.