St Leonards businessman’s Thames kayak challenge in aid of judo star

The team kayak training in Rye
The team kayak training in Rye

A St Leonards businessman has organised a fundraising challenge to help buy a new wheelchair for a local athlete.

Dain Jensen, managing director of Kiley’s Karpets, has set up The Thames Challenge to raise money for Neisha Potter-Goble, who has Connective Tissue Disorder and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder.

Along with teammates Seth East, Ross Garnet and James Sullivan, Dain is kayaking the length of The Thames.

The team set off on May 22, aiming to cover the 222-mile journey from source to sea in just nine days.

On the group’s fundraising page, it said: “From its source, the Thames stretches 222 miles to the Isle of Grain. We aim to cover that in nine days, averaging 25 miles per day. Where it’s shallow initially, we will travel on foot, and complete the rest in kayaks.”

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The group are taking on the tough task to raise money for a lightweight, low-back all-terrain wheelchair for Neisha.

Neisha was a budding gymnast and athlete from the age of four. However, wide-ranging symptoms and extensive joint pain means she has been confined to a wheelchair since 2015.

Despite this, she returned to sport and took up Judo in 2016. Just 20 months later, Neisha won gold in the 2018 European and World Special Needs Judo Championships.

Hastings-based Charity for Kids is buying the new lightweight wheelchair, which will enable Neisha to regain some independence.

Dain and his teammates are covering all their own expenses during the challenge so that all money donated goes directly to Charity for Kids for the purchase of the wheelchair.

The group were helped towards their target by a substantial donation from local housebuilder The Park Lane Group.

Dain and team have already raised more than £6,600. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dain-jensen1.