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On Sunday 19 June the Headmaster at King’s College, Taunton, Richard Biggs, decided to forego the pleasures of a Father’s Day roast lunch and instead paddled his homemade canoe the length of the canal from Bridgwater to Taunton. Setting off at 10.00am and finishing the 14 miles soon after 3.00pm, he stopped only for a picnic lunch and to carry his canoe around the four locks on the canal.

The Headmaster was taking part in the school’s efforts to raise funds for its new Sports Hub, an ambitious project to build a new cricket school, to cover a tennis and netball court and to refurbish the existing sports hall. He is delighted to confirm that he has raised over £300 as a result of his canoe trip. Mr Biggs built his canoe over the Christmas holidays, using plans, by famous designer Percy Blandford, that had been passed on to him by his father, who in turn had been given them by his parents when he was a boy. The canoe has a wooden frame over which canvas is stretched. Several coats of paint provide waterproofing.

The Headmaster said “The star of the show was my little canvas canoe, which performed brilliantly – no leaks! And it is light enough to portage around the locks with some ease. The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal is a little-known gem. It passes through stunningly beautiful countryside, with some idyllic picnic spots along the way. If you aren’t up to paddling it, there is a good towpath along its entire length. Not being an expert canoeist and having had little training I found the distance a challenge, and I began to flag towards the end, but the company of well-wishers along the way kept me going. It was a wonderful feeling to make it to the end at Firepool Lock in Taunton. I am delighted to have contributed to our very worthwhile and exciting Sports Hub project”.

There will be further fundraising events on Thursday 30 June at the school, with pupils, staff and parents taking part in a fun run, a big swim and a climb on the school’s climbing wall.