Accountant Edd Stone has just returned from an epic fund-raising feat in memory of his grandmother who was cared for in a West Country hospice.
Ruby Stone, 92, spent the last weeks of her life in the care of the team at St Peter’s Hospice in Keynsham, near Bristol.
Previously fiercely independent Ruby had been driving and living alone until the final weeks of her life when she was battling cancer.
Grandson Edd said: “The care she received was so wonderful, her room was so luxurious and she was in such a lovely place for those final weeks before she passed away peacefully in August this year.
“My Granny was a real tough cookie, Bristolian born and bred. She was a real character. She was such a fighter and very independent. Even in her last weeks, when I visited, all she could talk about was me, my job, when I was going to meet a girl. I told her then I was going to embark on this journey.
“I’ve always loved kayaking and I love the outdoors so I planned a route from Bristol to London and have raised some cash for the hospice. I set myself a target of raising £500 and set off on Friday September 14 after work.”
The 30-year-old who works as a management accountant at Corsham-based company Purple Lime, spent nine days on the river, staying with friends en route or camping wild on the side of the river.
Co-founder of Purple Lime Oli Thomas said: “We all know Edd loves the outdoors and we admire him for committing to such a challenge. We supported him all the way and are very proud of him. We kept in touch along the route with daily updates from him on social media.”
Edd had some adventures – his kayak broke at one point and he found himself stuck trying to get over a weir near Bath.
“I propped up my kayak and used a rope to pull it and myself up – it didn’t work. So I asked a swimmer for help as that area is popular with wild swimmers. What I didn’t realise was this swimmer was naked. I can only imagine what it must have looked like with me, my kayak and a naked man helping me get my craft up the weir,” he said.
“What I loved about this trip was the fact I can switch off from anything other than what is happening in the present moment. Your body simply goes into a more natural cycle. You wake up with the sunrise and sleep with the sunset. All you worry about is where you are going to get food and where you are going to sleep that night.”
Edd reached Woolwich in London late on Saturday September 22 having braved going through the Thames Barrier and travelling around the Capital by river.
“I know areas of London quite well having worked there,” Edd said. “However I couldn’t have worked out how those areas fitted together. Now I can. Seeing London from the river really shows how the city works, how it’s evolved over time and how important the river is to its economy and its life.”
Edd kayaked 192 miles and to date has raised more than £600 in memory of Ruby Stone. Anyone who wishes to donate can do so by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bristol-to-london