A Norwich builder is downing tools ready for a month-long sailing adventure to beat blood cancers. Simon Whitney will sail his boat, ‘The Queen Vic’, from Bristol to Norwich to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research - and plans to increase his fundraising by stopping to play blues gigs along way!
Simon, 52, was inspired to undertake the 850-mile journey for the charity after hearing about the experiences of families touched by blood cancers.
He says: “Patients and their families are put under incredible stain and the best way to lessen the impact is through research. I want to do everything I can to help.”
Setting out from Bristol Dock with the morning tide on 30 June, Simon will sail along the Severn Estuary and around the South Coast, stopping to perform blues gig en route.
The keen sailor and musician is aiming to average 30 miles a day in order to in order to return to Norwich, via the River Yare, in time for a homecoming performance at the Heartsease pub on 31 July.
Despite not having attempted such a long voyage on open water before, Simon is confident that he can cope with challenges such as crossing the Thames estuary: “It’ll be tough and there are potential dangers like sandbanks, but I’ve given myself plenty of time, so I can sail in daylight and lay low if the weather turns bad.
“The boat’s quite fast so I’m fairly confident I’ll make it to the gigs. If things don’t go quite to plan I could be sleeping on beaches or busking on the quayside, but that’s all part of the adventure.”
Supporting Simon on his journey will be will be a group of family and friends, who will help to keep him on an even keel by transporting his guitar and heavy PA system from venue to venue.
By playing a broad selection of popular blues music, along with some original material, Simon hopes to draw in the crowds and raise as much money as possible for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
He says: “I’m really grateful to everyone for their support; I can’t wait to get going! It’s going to be a lot of fun, but I want the lasting benefit to be for patients and their families.”
To support Simon on his “Blues Cruz” by visiting: http://www.justgiving.com/simon-whitney. For more information on where he will be playing, visit http://simonsbluescruze.moonfruit.com.
Kate White, Director of Fundraising at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says: “We wish Simon the best of luck with his sailing adventure. All the money raised will help Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research continue to invest in ground-breaking research into blood cancers”.