Professor sticks his oar in

April 16th, 2012

Hurtling along the Thames in the dead of night is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But that’s exactly what Professor Kevin Shakesheff is doing to raise money for Children’s Brain Tumour Research (CBTR).

Kevin, 42, will be kayaking non-stop for 125 miles from Devizes to Westminster Bridge — the longest continuous kayak race in the world — to raise funds for CBTR

Joining Kevin in his challenge is fellow alumnus David Bache, who he met while studying Pharmacy in the late 1980s. And until 10 months ago, neither of them had stepped foot in a kayak. The pair are now kayaking more than 80 miles a week ahead of the Easter weekend event – and mainly at night.

Kevin said: “We’re worried about the night time. Not only is the kayak wobbly, but at night it is difficult to balance because you can’t see the water and you lose your natural balance because you’re unable to see the horizon.

“There have been lots of bad experiences while training, particularly falling in when it is absolutely freezing cold. We’ve had quite a mild winter but there were times in January and February when the canal got really close to freezing over – and we fell in a lot.”

The course includes 78 portages where the kayakers have to carry their vessels for a total of 13 miles – in addition to the 125-mile course. The challenge dates back over 60 years, involves hundreds of kayakers and canoeists, and should take around 24 hours to complete.

Every year around 450 children in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour and survival rates are among the lowest in Europe. The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre works to improve diagnosis and treatment, as well as raising awareness of brain tumours.

Kevin said: “Because David and I are pharmacists, we wanted to do something that’s in part based on drug treatment. We have a fantastic clinical and research centre at the QMC doing work that’s leading to better drug treatment, major clinical trials, research for diagnosis, and treatment of brain tumours – and we wanted to support that.

“As an alum, I am always keen to help the University – particularly in this area where donations can have an immediate effect on clinical trials and new therapies.”

Children’s Brain Tumour Research is a key priority of Nottingham: The Impact Campaign, which is the biggest ever fundraising initiative to deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

The intrepid kayakers have set up a just giving page for donations at:

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