A cold English Channel.

17 miles from steel pier to steel pier.

One man and his paddle board.

William is taking on the 17miles of open sea between Eastbourne and Hastings in his special stand up paddle board Pier to Pier challenge, looking to raise more than £500 for patients and families looked after by St Wilfrid's. 

William with the extra large, extra stable board he will be using for the epic paddleboarding challenge.

William, a professional stand up paddleboarding instructor based in Eastbourne, was inspired to start fundraising after reading about the efforts of hospice staff and volunteers in the local papers and hearing so many stories from friends. William said:

'I've seen the great work they do at the hospice and it’s made the training a pleasure. Not to mention seeing all the beautiful sights of East Sussex from the water - I've seen star fish, seals, jelly fish and porpoises. What a great way to see wildlife!'

William and the whole crew in their specially designed St Wilfrid's Hospice shirts. 

I took up Stand Up Paddle Boarding about 5 years ago and fell in love with the sport - it changed my life! I slimmed down and lost 7 stone in weight pretty quickly. I'd worked for the Ambulance Service for 19 years on Patient Transport with two years on the front line. That gave me plenty of time to see the work the hospice does first hand; how they care for the patient and their families around the hospice and in the community. 

Some years ago I lost a great friend of mine to cancer and in the last year have had close colleagues of mine diagnosed with cancer, always getting me thinking about what I could do to help. Finally the idea of the Pier to Pier Challenge took hold. It will be the biggest and longest paddle I have ever done. I have been lent a special touring/cruising board by a local company, Neptune SUPs, while Pevensey Bay Sailing Club are supplying a safety boat crewed with Sea Training Sussex members of 1066 SUP club. Turtle Bay SUP company are also helping me organise the whole event.

I’m no spring chicken at 53 years old. It just goes to show you're never too old to change your life, get fit and support a great cause!'       

Want to contribute towards William's total? Visit his JustGiving page and leave YOUR donation. 

William on the water, on his shorter board.