Aberdeen, United Kingdom– 30 May 2013


A joint collaboration between Divex, world leaders in diving equipment technology, and The Royal Navy has seen these two companies raise a fantastic amount of money for two very special charities.


Andy Brunton. MBE, Defence Business Development Manager for Divex, and Lt Cdr Richard (Soapy) Watson, Royal Navy Standards Officer have completed a gruelling 24 hour paddle to raise money for both Project Vernon and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.


Mr Brunton and Ltd Cdr Watson originally planned to participate in the Devizes to Westminster (DW) Canoe race at the end of March.  This race is 125 miles long however following consultation with the Environment Agency, the Directors of the DW Canoe Race imposed major restrictions on participation due to extreme conditions which meant the team were forced to withdraw.


Undeterred they undertook at 24 hour paddle at Horsea Lake, starting at 8am Thursday 18 April and finishing at 8am on the Friday morning.  They clocked up an amazing 110 miles and so far have raised £1,298 for their nominated charities.


Project Vernon is a charity raising funds to commission a statute of a clearance diver to be erected in Gunwharf Quays, the former site of HMS Vernon which was the home of Royal Navy diving.  The statue will pay tribute to all the personnel from the Diving and Minewarefare branches that served in HMS Vernon.


The Royal Navy & Royal Marines charity exists to provide a better quality of life for serving and former Naval Service personnel and their families.


Andy Brunton. MBE commented on the paddle: “We were very disappointed to have to withdraw from the DW especially as we had trained in often extreme conditions over the winter.  We felt we owed it to our kind sponsors and to ourselves to put this training to the test hence the ‘Plan B’ 24 hours paddle.     This proved to be every bit as challenging both mentally and physically, not helped by the poor weather conditions on the day and the monotony of paddling up and down Horsea Lake for 24 hours .”


Lt Cdr Richard (Soapy) Watson, Royal Navy Standards Officer stated: “After we got over the heartache of not competing in this years DW – we very quickly focused on another challenge – to paddle up and down the 1000 yard long Horsea Lake for 24 hours . In the end we covered 110 miles or 193 times up and down. It was a pleasure and honour to paddle with my old Baby Diver Course Instructor – although I think I have heard all of his dits now!!”


Our thanks go out to all who have donated towards this event.  The fundraising page is still open for anyone who wishes to find out more: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/divexnavydivers