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Around Britain for Charity - RIB Challenge 2004

A few months ago Icom sponsored the crew of 'Awesome Fun' an 8.1 metre Rigid Inflatable Boat which successfully completed a circumnavigation of Britain in August/September to raise funds for Katharine House Hospice. The Around Britain for Charity RIB Challenge 2004 is now close to reaching its £10,000 target for the Stafford based hospice.

Starting at Portsmouth, the boat built by Scorpion Rib's Ltd and powered by a Honda 225hp VCTEC engine, travelled at speeds of up to 50 knots to cover the 1600 nautical miles around Britain. The crew comprised owner Michael Ashton, an Engineering Manager who lives in Colwich, Stafford, and Ken Rogers who lives in Stone and works as Systems Administrator for Stafford based Horsley Huber & Associates, Architects.

Extras included larger built-in fuel storage, and full SatNav and VHF installations. There was also a removable foredeck cover to give some protection against breaking seas as well as somewhere to display details of sponsors.The project was the culmination of over a years planning, with the aim of raising funds for the Katharine House Hospice in Stafford, as well as raising the profile of the hospice movement generally.

Community Fundraiser Amanda Danells-Smith and the team at Katharine House provided enthusiastic and professional support in developing links with the media as well corporate sponsors. Mike’s wife Ruby also worked tirelessly as the Challenge secretary, a job involving all of the paperwork and none of the fun!

'We were fortunate to get support from a number of marine industry sponsors' Mike explained. These included Honda Marine who provided for re-fuelling through their dealer network at our various ports of call, as well as wet weather gear. ICOM (UK) assisted with communication equipment, and Gecko two superb safety helmets.

Amanda Danells-Smith, said,' When Mike approached the hospice last year with his idea to circumnavigate Britain to help raise funds for the hospice, we endeavoured to support him in his Challenge in whatever way we could. The planning for the trip took many months and along the way Mike and I worked closely on securing not only monetary support for the trip but also donations of safety equipment, accommodation and most importantly fuel. Mike then went on to make many important contacts with both local, national and international companies, all of whom played a part in the success of the trip. We’re delighted that we were able to help Mike achieve this lifetime ambition, and that he chose to dedicate the trip to helping Katharine House Hospice.'

She added, 'Katharine House receives only 20% of the £1.5 million it needs each year from statutory sources. For the remainder we rely on the generosity of supporters, so by raising over £8,000 in sponsorship for the Challenge Mike and his navigator Ken, have made a valuable difference to the lives of our patients and their families.'At the Annual Dinner of BIBOA (British Inflatable Boat Owners Association) on Saturday 13th November Mike Ashton & Ken Rogers were presented with the annual Sponsors Trophy for the best fund-raising effort with a RIB in 2004. This award has been presented to Alan Priddy on several occasions in the past, but on this occasion he got an award for his spectacular sinking in the Atlantic west of Ireland!

Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom (UK) Ltd said,' We were really pleased to be involved with Mike and Ken's adventure…especially when it was for such a good cause. It was only right that they were awarded the BIBOA trophy of the best fund raising effort with a RIB in 2004.'The trip took some 14 days, logging some 1709 nautical miles and 93 engine hours.

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