Splashing out for dad

IPSWICH: Two brothers have completed the challenge of a lifetime to honour their dad’s memory.

Inspired by their energetic father, who took up kayaking at an incredible 80-years-old, Colin and Keith Jennings paddled more than seven miles out to sea from Walton-on-the-Naze to the tiny island of Sealand, off the Suffolk coast.

They took on the tough journey to raise money for Cancer Research after their father, Maurice Jennings, of Shackleton Square, Ipswich, died on Christmas Eve from a brain tumour.

The brothers, both from Ipswich, decided to follow his example and have been practising since Spring for the arduous journey.

Colin, 55, of Roundwood Road, said: “He lost his wife – my mother – after 54 years of marriage and that prompted him to look after himself more than he had ever done before.

“He took up ballroom dancing and achieved the bronze medal in Latin American and ballroom dancing at Ipswich School of Dance, and he made a lot of friends there.

“So we felt that we needed to do something to honour his memory and also raise money for Cancer Research.

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“We wanted to do something to repay the care and attention he received when he had a brain tumour.”

Cancer Research is a cause close to the brothers’ hearts. As well as their father, the pair lost their sister, Shirley, who had emigrated to Canada, to cancer at the age of just 52.

They have raised �1,700 so far but are hoping to hit their �2,000 target by getting a few final donations.

On Maurice’s 80th birthday, he and his family went to Center Parcs in the Netherlands, where he lived up to his daredevil reputation by zooming across a large lake on a zip wire.

Colin said: “Our father was an incredible person – age wasn’t a barrier to him and if there was something he could do, he would.

“He wouldn’t sit around and mope, he was always doing things and occupying himself.”

They chose Sealand, on former Second World War fort HM Fort Roughs in the North Sea, because it has always been an object of fascination for the two brothers since childhood trips to the seaside.

The duo paddled out to the tiny island in just under three hours on Sunday.

The round trip took about five-and-a-half hours, despite the choppy conditions at sea.

Colin added: “I was proud and relieved, and just pleased we had been able to acknowledge him in some way.”

They also thanked their support crew, including Giles White of G W Plumbing in Shotley, which accompanied them to make sure they did not run into difficulties on the journey out to sea.

Anyone wishing to donate to Cancer Research can still sponsor the brothers by going to www.justgiving.com/kayakkid challenge