James Castle, a Pottery Instructor on the Aspens’ team, has kayaked the entire length of the River Thames to raise money for a more accessible home for the charity’s donkeys.
James, who works at the Acorns Day Centre at Aspens’ Pembury site, paddled an the entire 140 miles from Lechlade (the highest navigable point of the river) to Putney in London. The journey took James seven days to complete as he contested strong head winds and heavy rain on route.
James set out early every day and paddled for 14 hours. He spent the evenings camping at various spots along the route. He says many people he saw along the route called out with words of encouragement, with one of the campsites he stayed at pledging a generous donation and some passers-by even flinging cash donations at him as he kayaked, which he luckily managed to catch! Shouldn’t really be throwing coins at people though, so please don’t try that at home when your Dad is sitting in the bath!
What James has done for Aspens and our donkeys is absolutely wonderful
Aspen’s is charity based in the South-East who help children, young people and adults with a range of disabilities and complex needs, as well as those on the autism spectrum. Through the provision of highly personalised support, they aspire to enable people to learn new skills, live life to the full and contribute to society wherever possible. Their offices are located in Pembury in Kent, Battle in East Sussex and Littlehampton in West Sussex.
James said: “I saw first-hand how beneficial these animals are to the welfare of our service users and residents. Seeing the pleasure and smiles on their faces when they came to feed the donkeys or give them a stroke, really struck a chord with me. Many of those we support struggle with communication, but with animals it doesn’t matter – you can still stroke a furry nose. The donkey’s stable is currently in a hard to reach spot, making it difficult for many of those that we support to access it. This is why I wanted to help raise funds to get a new, more accessible stable for them.”
We asked a donkey to make a comment on their new stable but were sadly given a brush off.
James is delighted to have now exceeded his original target of £2500, reaching an amazing £2884. His donations page is still open and James says further donations would be very welcome “I am so grateful for all the kind support so far. Please do keep the donations coming, all the funds raised will benefit the Aspens donkeys and the people we support, who get so much joy from interacting with them.”
You can make a donation here.
You can also find out more about Aspen’s here.