August 26th – September 11th 2016. Military charity Pilgrim Bandits, based in the New Forest, Hampshire has completed its latest expedition with amputees from the armed forces. Those that took part from all over the UK were; Colin Hamilton former 3 Scots, Glasgow. L/Bdr Ben Parkinson MBE, Doncaster. (centre front) Cpl Vince Manley, Plymouth. Adam Cyr (Canadian Special Forces) Stuart Holcroft, ex Royal Artillery. Steven Allen, confidential as serving. L/Cpl Tyler Christopher, Cardiff (far right front) along with Alex Lewis (a civilian quad-amputee), Stockbridge, Hampshire (second from left).
During two weeks two teams kayaked across a section of the Artic amid icebergs and glacier fronts in the frozen waters around Greenland the world’s largest island. Paired with able-bodied in double kayaks, with fee paying kayakers joining the trip to offset some of the expedition costs and contribute to the charity’s fund raising toward a purpose built kayaking training centre on the South Coast of England, the amputee kayakers paddled up to 20 miles a day, for up to 5 hours, and then had to make camp before cooking for the evening.
The injured members of the team have completed comprehensive training for the trip and three have gone on to achieve Level 1 Coaching qualifications with the BCU in Kayaking all funded by the charity. Pilgrim Bandits provides training working towards qualifications for those injured interested in pursuing a career in the leisure sector or to simply train for expeditions like this one.
Andre Edwards, general manager for Pilgrim Bandits explains “This was gruelling expedition broken into two week-long parts with the amputees split in to two groups and completing a week each. There was plenty of icebergs and we were privileged to see whales and the Northern lights during the expedition.”
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