Saturday, 24 February 2024
Saturday, 24 February 2024

Teenager paddles 200km in 10-day charity fundraiser

A teenager from Devon returned to school having completed a 200km paddleboard during her summer break to help people left homeless after disaster or conflict. 

Emily Read has raised more than £3,000 for ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity based in the Westcountry, by paddling the River Thames.  

Emily, who lives in Exeter, told Charity Today:

“The biggest challenge was continuing paddling through strong headwinds and torrential rain when at times it felt like I was paddling upstream and not down!   

“I have lots of great memories from the challenge, but my highlight was being able to paddle sections with friends and my dog, Tipi, who were there to support me.  

“I am so grateful to everyone who donated to ShelterBox, and I know that the money will make a real difference to families in crisis.” 

It comes as ShelterBox launches an emergency fundraising appeal to help people in Pakistan after deadly flash floods devastated large parts of the country, affecting 33 million people. 

The charity has an emergency response team in Pakistan working to get emergency shelter aid to thousands of people left with nowhere to live. Around one million houses have been damaged or destroyed, leaving behind millions of people in need of urgent shelter.  

The first of ShelterBox’s aid is due to start arriving in Pakistan in the next couple of days. The aid includes tents, water filters and carriers, mosquito nets, and solar lights.  

The 15-year-old was first inspired to fundraise for ShelterBox after seeing the charity’s stand at the Devon County Show at the age of 10. Emily raised thousands of pounds for ShelterBox with a 500-mile cycling challenge whilst she was still at primary school. 

Community Fundraising Officer for ShelterBox, Hollie Clements says:

“We were all so pleased when Emily got in touch saying she was challenging herself for ShelterBox once again.  

“Emily completely smashed her fundraising target with her epic paddleboarding adventure and has raised more than £3,000 so far. This money will go such a long way towards ensuring that ShelterBox can provide urgently needed shelter to families in desperate need after a disaster. Emily has put in so much time and effort with paddling the Thames. She’s an inspiration to us all, and we are proud she is part of Team ShelterBox!” 

Emily adds: “I am really pleased to have finished my 200km paddleboarding challenge, which I completed quicker than I expected in 10 days. Although it was very tough at times, I met lovely people along the way who surprised me with super generous donations. One of the funniest moments was when a boat ran aground near Lechlade trying to put money in my collection bucket!” 

ShelterBox specialises in providing emergency shelter and other essential items to people across the globe. As well as Pakistan, the charity is currently working to support people in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. 

The charity, which has helped more than two million people across 98 countries since it was formed in 2000, relies heavily on public donations to fund its response. 

Anyone keen to find out more about Emily’s challenge can visit her JustGiving page 

For more information about ShelterBox visit shelterbox.org.  

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