Isle fire crews to attempt epic charity raft ride

Firefighters from across the Isle will be out on the water shortly in an attempt to paddle 64 miles on a raft.

The sponsored paddle, from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire to Crowle, has been organised to raise cash for Parkinson’s UK, the support and research charity that seeks to help all those affected by Parkinson’s Disease.

Team Jive, with members mainly from Crowle and Epworth, are making their brave bid in loving memory of the late Ronald Wilkes, the grandfather of two raft members, firefighters Sarah Clark and Chris Clark. Mr Wilkes died at the start of the year after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for many years.

The crew hope to raise awareness of the condition of Parkinson’s along with adding to the vital cash stream needed by the charity.

The special raft that will carry the team over three days from today (August 8) has been hand made by 31-year-old joiner Chris. It comes complete with a working siren and flashing blue lights. Its crew all work at neighbouring fire stations in Crowle and Epworth.

Their waterway trek will not be easy as it involves 42 locks, one tunnel and two aqueducts along the way.

Sarah Clark, 32, who is a retained firefighter at Epworth, said: “We expect it will be a long, hard three days for the six of us doing the paddle and I understand we may get the tail-end of a hurricane so it could be very wet.

“We are also to negotiate the country’s longest lock at Sowerby, which has a 19ft drop, and we will be sailing under the village. We are well prepared though and will give it our best. It’s more of a mental challenge than a physical one.”

The team aim to do a challenge every year for charity, with the raft getting bigger and better each time, she added.

To find out more about the team and their epic journey this week, visit and like their page.

Any donations to add to the charity coffers for Parkinson’s in this instance can be made at

Anyone who would like to find out more about how to help raise money for Parkinson’s UK by charity efforts can visit Alternatively, call the team on 020 7963 9319.