Heroes on the Water (HOW) UK returned to the Isle of Man earlier this month with assistance from the Steam Packet Company.
Heroes on the Water Isle of Man was launched in 2014 as a fundraising partner for Heroes on the Water UK, which uses kayak fishing to provide rehabilitation and social integration for its members. The charity provides support for members of the military, emergency services and others who have been injured – physically or emotionally – while carrying out a public duty.
Since its launch HOW Isle of Man has arranged a number of visits of former military personnel to the Island and this year brought over five guests as part of its work, with the Steam Packet Company once again assisting with the cost of travel.
It held a kayak fishing event in Port Erin Bay on 15th July.
Event organiser Tony Palmer said: ‘This is the fourth year that HOW Isle of Man has worked in partnership with HOW UK and Kayak Fishing Isle of Man, a section of Mannin Angling Club, to put on a kayak fishing event to raise much-needed funds for this fantastic charity. The kayaking competition involved visiting ex-service personnel alongside more than 40 local kayak fishermen and women from Kayak Fishing IOM.’
Visitors from the charity this year included Andrew Whitehouse, a former Royal Marine, and Kevin Gray, formerly of the Royal Artillery. They have both benefited from working with the charity and are now members of the HOW UK fishing team. Andy and Kevin were accompanied by three other veterans.
Tony added: ‘HOW Isle of Man has plans to run a number of free kayak fishing sessions on Island each year for local service personnel, both currently serving and retired and it is now working with Isle of Man Veterans (British Armed Forces), which at present has in the region of 260 members all living on the Isle of Man.
‘If there are any serving or retired military or emergency personnel who would like to get involved or find out more, then please go to www.heroesonthewater-uk.org
or call me on 484498.’
The group has an agreement with the Joey Dunlop Foundation to provide specialist accommodation free of charge at Braddan Bridge House for visiting ex-military and emergency service personnel if they are part of the HOW initiative.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We have been proud to support the HOW Isle of Man initiative since its inception and delighted to see it growing in terms of the numbers involved and events it is planning to help local and visiting ex-service personnel with rehabilitation and social integration. We trust our guests this year enjoyed their visit and look forward to hearing about the charity’s continued expansion.’
•(from left) HOW Isle of Man volunteer Dianne Brooks, ex-Artillery member Kevin Grey, HOW UK Trustee Martin Hurst, ex-Royal Marine Andy Whitehouse, ex-sapper Neil Whitehead, ex-Artillery member Andrew Swainston, former RAF serviceman and member of the Manx Veterans Group Kenny Newbold and HOW Isle of Man volunteer Beryl Payton
•Andrew Whitehouse and Kevin Gray travel to the Isle of Man for the Heroes on the Water event with the Steam Packet Company