Intrepid pair planning epic river paddle to raise funds for hospice charity

PUBLISHED: 07:33 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 07:33 23 August 2018

Ian Roper and Sean Fanning who are kayaking 25 miles to raise money for Arthur Rank Hospice

Ian Roper and Sean Fanning who are kayaking 25 miles to raise money for Arthur Rank Hospice


Kayakers Ian Roper, 71, and Sean Fanning, 56, are planning a 25-mile paddle on the River Great Ouse to raise money for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

The effort is in memory of Anne Fanning, Sean’s mum and Ian’s partner of 38 years, who was cared for by staff at the hospice in Shelford Bottom before she died in June.

Anne worked as head of audio visual at Newport Grammar School (now Joyce Frankland Academy) where she met Ian.

She had studied drama at the Italia Conti School in London in her early 20s and later appeared as an amateur with companies including the Clavering Players.

She loved dogs and showed her golden retrievers at Crufts. She also played tennis and cricket.

Ian said: “The care shown by the medical and nursing staff at the hospice couldn’t have been better. It was a relief to know that she was in such good hands.”

Ian, from Saffron Walden, a former geography and geology teacher and Sean, a BBC journalist, are regulars on Cambridgeshire’s waterways but seldom have they done this kind of distance.

The pair plan to paddle along the Great Ouse River from St Ives to Ely via Stretham and will take to the water on Saturday, September 8, aiming to finish by nightfall.

Community fundraiser, Amy Bidwell from the charity said: “We are so grateful to Ian and Sean for choosing to support the hospice in this way.

“It’s a unique, personal challenge and involves doing something they already enjoy while creating a positive benefit for a cause so close to their hearts. I and the team wish them all the best on their adventure.”

Arthur Rank Hospice supports people who are living with a life-limiting illness and those who need end-of-life care.

The charity needs to secure £8.1million every year to deliver services free of charge to patients and their loved ones.

About half of this currently comes from statutory sources, with further funds raised thanks to the wider local community.

If you would like to sponsor Sean and Ian, donations can be made via Sean’s Virgin Money Giving page:

Or the Peasgood and Skeates memory page, Fanning.

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