June 2020


Graham Stobbs in Kayak with sponsorship badging

Fundraising Veteran Paddles His Own Canoe.

Below is the official press release about Graham Stobbs’ heroic kayak fundraising efforts. But first a little insight into the man himself – and what brought him to this point.

Graham is a Swindonian. One that, after a difficult childhood and a series of bad choices ran away from Swindon. In similar vein to the old story about running away to join the circus, Graham ran from his personal pain into the Army’s arms – the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Green Jackets to be precise. A circus of sorts one might say.

Within a mere 8 months, Graham found himself serving in South Armargh. A few troubled years in the army saw Graham medically discharged, back in civvy street and utterly at a loss.

A suicide attempt

Now followed years of being turned down by military charities. Graham says he felt alone, let-down and with nowhere to turn to, he made a suicide attempt.

Recovering from that, but still failing to get help from crisis teams and mental health organisations, Graham climbed Kilimanjaro (an awesome feat – I’ve got all on with the stairs) to raise the profile of PTSD and the plight of many veterans.

That was 2 years ago and, as Graham says: ‘still we are losing veterans to suicide. I decided I would challenge myself to do something I knew nothing about and ended up picking 222 miles in a kayak’.

The journey is a personal one but also a public fundraiser where I will talk openly about my struggles and encourage veterans to talk more and seek help.’

Preparing for the challenge

Said Graham, ‘preparing for this challenge has been a challenge in itself. I’m hounded The journey is a personal one bit also a public fundraiser where I will talk openly about my struggles and encourage veterans to talk more and seek help.

 Only the last few weeks have been encouraging and positive and given me the lift I needed to complete it. I’ve learned different things – like self-rescue and Eskimo rolls to give me the tools to bring this challenge to successful completion.’

‘Above all’ says Graham, ‘the most important is to have belief in one’s own ability. We don’t how to do anything in the beginning. But yet, we humans take on challenges and we overcome adversity.’

This is quite the journey – in every sense. It’s a literal, physical journey – but also a personal and emotional one for Graham. Something of a catharsis. So do support him – and help him to support others.

Read the official press release below to find out where Graham’s kayak challenge starts and ends and the charities he’s supporting.

If you’d like to help Graham with his fundraising efforts here is where you can donate: https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/221-mile-kayak

Official Press Release

Veteran Graham Stobbs is embarking on an epic solo fundraising mission next month. Along for the journey will be veteran Cormac Doyle MBE from The Bridge Charity (supporting land vehicle).

The team are raising money for the Veteran’s Hub Swindon, Walking with the Wounded and The Veteran’s Hub Weymouth. These three charities dedicated themselves to supporting the continued wellbeing of veterans.

Graham will set off from Dungeness in Kent and sprint 29 miles across the Channel. He’ll then complete a further gruelling 10+ hours of kayaking a day as he follows the coast of France down to the Pegasus Bridge War Memorial. He’ll complete the challenge at Point Du Hoc.

Depending on the weather and sea conditions, Graham will start paddling between 12th – 14th August in an 18ft P&H Scorpio Sea Kayak. His aim is raising as much money as possible for the veterans’ causes that are close to his heart.

Passionate supporter of charities

Graham is a passionate supporter of these charities having suffered with his own mental health problems. He’s taking on this challenge to help break the stigma around mental health and encourage veterans to open up, talk and ask for help.

As part of his treatment Graham is undergoing intense EMDR therapy with Cormac Doyle MBE of The Bridge Charity. Cormac is supporting Graham throughout this challenge and his on-going treatment.

All funds raised will help veterans, with some of the money going to Graham’s own charity, The Veteran’s Hub Swindon.

To donate please visit: https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/221-mile-kayak

The Veteran’s Hub

The Veteran’s Hub wants to create a permanent centre, offering much needed mental health support, wellbeing advice and guidance for serving personnel, veterans and their families. It’s a big dream that the team are working hard to make a reality.

Graham will also donate funds to Walking with the Wounded and The Veteran’s Hub Weymouth. Both charities are well known for supporting the mental health of veterans across the UK.

Graham, 48, who is currently training hard for the trip, commented: “I’m excited and nervous about the trip.

Fundraising Veteran Paddles His Own Canoe -  graham stobbs in his kayak

It’s a challenge and a healing process for the fundraising veteran paddles his own canoe

The challenge will push the boundaries of my mental wellbeing, endurance and physical capability. Mental health and PTSD is a real challenge for veterans that often goes unrecognised for many years after service. There’s a desperate need for funds so I’m determined to do my bit to help those who have given so much for their country.”

Graham added “This is also part of my own healing process. It’s my hope that I’ll encourage others to reach out about their own difficulties and seek help like I did. I want to show there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

This is not the only way Graham supports veterans causes.

He’s also founder of Swindon’s Mfor Festival. Mfor – where a family fun day meets music festival – supports veteran, military and mental health charities, including The Veteran’s Hub.

To donate please visit: https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/221-mile-kayak

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