Paul said: “Like most people I’ve been touched by the plight of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. My team and I are pleased that we are able to help Tom and Ollie in their challenging quest to raise money for this worthwhile cause.”
Help for Heroes (H4H) was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in October 2007 after a profoundly moving visit to Selly Oak Hospital in the summer of 2007, where they meet some extraordinarily brave young people who had been badly injured. Since then the charity has raised over £1m a month to support wounded service men and women.
FASTSIGNS offers a full range of custom signs and graphic products to businesses, including banners, posters, and exterior and interior signage. Paul created water and rapid-proof vinyl stickers for the canoe, as well as a ‘splash-deck’ to promote the charity and the trip sponsors.
Tom said: “We are very grateful to FASTSIGNS for producing all our sponsor and event stickers for the boat free of charge. It looks really eye catching and will help to attract attention when we are racing across the country. It should help us achieve our £20k target!”
Tom and Ollie, who can be seen regularly training on the Thames in Fulham and Hammersmith, first met whilst studying at the University of Bath seven years ago. Although they have since embarked on very different career paths, Ollie working for an investment bank in the City and Tom going on to post-graduate studies at Manchester University, they have remained good friends.
Their challenge is reuniting them as they plan to travel 685 miles (1000 km) by canoe, starting in January 2010. They will take part in three races, which they are aiming to complete in 100 hours. The first race is the WYE 100 (mile) on 16-17 January 2010 (a non-stop, 100 mile 'dash' from Glasbury to Chepstow against the clock ). Next up is the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race between 2-5 April 2010. The final and longest leg in the series, from 30 June to 4 July 2010, takes them to the wilderness of Northern Canada for the world’s longest annual canoe race - the 460-mile Yukon River Quest. Ollie and Tom will spend the next 7 months participating in fundraising events, in between intensive training and racing, from the Top Gear Thames Time Trials to auction dinners on the Wye and in London.
Ollie said: “Neither Tom or I have served in The Armed Forces, but it was certainly a life we considered. Many of our close friends have chosen that life and have seen active service in the last few years. Directly or indirectly most of us have been touched by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and we simply felt it was our duty to do our bit towards making sure that service men and women are looked after.”
Tom said: “All in all I think any opportunity to take on personal challenge that can do something good for a great cause, should be taken with both hands, which is exactly what I feel we created with the Wye2Yukon Challenge.”