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Band of Brothers Launch from Portland for D-Day Challenge

Klepper Challenge Team

7:10am 4th June 2014
(Updated 3:26pm 4th June 2014)

A Band of Brothers, who're canoeing from Portland to France to commemorate D-Day, have called their journey across the Channel a fitting tribute to our war heroes.

Matt, Dwayne, Ben, Richard, Stu and Colin set off on their 200km challenge this afternoon (Wednesday 4th June) from Portland Marina.

They're paddling in pairs and are aiming to make it to the beaches of Normandy in time for the D-Day 70th anniversary commemorations on Friday morning.

The group will spend around 40 hours negotiating the world's busiest shipping lane on their travels.

Ben Collins is one of the kayakers and told Wessex FM before setting off, it was going to be a challenging and emotional journey over to France:

"We all know the sacrifice and the scale and the enormity of the operation. Most of us being military men we understand what an undertaking that was.

It will be a real honour to hopefully, canoe up onto Gold Beach on Friday morning and take part in the celebrations."

5 out of the 6 men are former Paratroopers and Team leader Stewart Gilks thinks they're the first Band of Brothers to take-on the charity challenge from Dorset:

"As far as we can determine, this has never been attempted before and will be a fitting way to demonstrate our respect and admiration for the men who departed England, to secure the drop zones and beaches of Normandy, in June 1944.

Their endeavours benefitted future generations; we hope that our endeavours will benefit our 6 chosen charities."

The brave kayakers hope to raise 20-thousand pounds for six charities.

Thousands of British and US troops sailed from Weymouth and Portland when the allied invasion of Western Europe was launched in 1944.

You can follow the team on their travels on their Facebook page and Twitter account.


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