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Friends unite in memory of Kate Stainsby
Jason Raper and James Barnes taking part in the sponsored canoe in memory of their friend Kate Stainsby, who died in a canoeing accident on New Year’s Day
FRIENDS of a York university lecturer who died in a canoeing accident have raised thousands of pounds in her memory by completing a 155-mile charity kayak expedition.
Kate Stainsby, 41, from Swinton, near Malton, was canoeing on the River Rawthey at Sedbergh, Cumbria, on New Year’s Day when her canoe capsized. She was airlifted to hospital, but died two days later.
Following her death, fellow York Canoe Club member Jason Raper and friend James Barnes decided to do something in her memory while raising funds for the Great North Air Ambulance service.
The pair, who praised the air ambulance team for their efforts in rescuing Kate, said they planned the gruelling three-day kayak trip along the River Ure in her memory and to raise awareness of organ donation.
Kate was signed up to the organ donor register and her organs went on to help 20 people after her death.
Jason, of Scarborough, said he and James, of Brough, trained every night in the weeks leading up to the challenge.
He said: “Some nights motivation was difficult to find, especially when the training session consisted of seeing how much 50mm thick ice we could smash with our boat in an hour.”
The challenge saw the pair, along with friends who joined them, paddle up to 14 hours a day, while contending with strong headwinds, rapid rivers and high tides.
Despite various setbacks, Jason and James finished their challenge within an hour of their target time.
Jason said: “We were a little sleep deprived, but we had made it. The paddle went great.
“We completed the River Ure from source to sea over the three days intended with an hour to spare.
“We were really unlucky with low water levels on the first day, but then had glorious sun for the rest which was good.”
Jason said they had so far raised £3,350, but money was still flooding in.
“In addition, we raised some awareness of paddle sport and the amazing effects of organ donation,” he said.
Kate, a senior physiotherapist lecturer at York St John University, was on a trip with fellow members of York Canoe Club when she fell into the river.
She died leaving partner of 16 years, Paul Simpson, and their three-year-old daughter, Hannah.
To donate to the cause, go to justgiving.com/paddletheURE
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