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Many good people


Eric Innes paddling clockwise round Britain in his 17-foot kayak to raise money for Help for Heroes

Image: Eric's Coastal Kayak

I missed the story about 47-year-old Eric Innes kayaking round Britain to help heroes when it first appeared. I saw it yesterday, while reading This England, a wonderful magazine, which began publishing in 1968 and now reaches 2 million people.

The ex-soldier had been watching son Garrad Innes, returned from Afghanistan, in his medals parade. He saw his son's injured comrades, some with limbs missing, and decided he had to raise money for Help for Heroes.

We've posted about Help for Heroes before. The group was started only two years ago by two people like yourselves -

Bryn and Emma Parry made a profoundly moving visit to Selly Oak Hospital in the summer of 2007. They met some extraordinarily brave young people who had been badly wounded and they just wanted to do something to help. They started Help for Heroes.

Since then, with the support of people all over Britain, they have raised more than £1 million per month.

Eric is one of those helping out. Guided by "a soggy map and a GPS navigator", he kayaked 1700 miles round the coast of Britain. It was a long journey. He stopped for food and drink only every five days and slept under canvas. With his lips burned from the wind and his hands blistered, he completed his voyage at the end of August, and has raised £20,000.

Eric served with the First Battalion the Duke of Wellington Regiment – now the Yorkshire Regiment – for 22 years. Even for this tough man there were a few difficult and lonely moments while paddling. “The toughest bit was going down the east coast with the wind in my face,’’ he said. “I also had to cross the Thames Estuary at night which was quite hairy because it’s a shipping channel."

Many people giving of themselves - our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Parrys, Eric Innes, all those giving to Help for Heroes and the publishers of This England. . .

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