Canal challenge team in Northamptonshire

Matt and Mike with their canoe

Matt and Mike with their canoe

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A firefighter, his colleagues and a friend are hoping to raise £5,000 for a charity helping children with special needs, by attempting to canoe the length of the country’s longest canal.

Mike Wilson, 37, Matt Bettany, 37, Jac Vincent, 29, and Jack Reinhold, 24, will paddle through the county as they attempt to canoe the whole 140 miles of the Grand Union Canal in just 48 hours, non-stop, at the end of this month.

The team set themselves the challenge to raise money for the Peter Pan Centre for Children with Special Needs in Newcastle under Lyme.

Mike, who is a manager for Avery Care Homes, asked his friend Matt if he would be interested in helping raise money for the centre.

Matt said: “Mike’s been my best mate since school, so when he asked, there was no hesitation. I settled on us canoeing the length of the longest canal – despite the fact none of us had even stepped in a boat before.”