A COMMITTED charity fundraiser from Portland will be avoiding the chocolate and hitting the kayaks over the bank holiday Easter Weekend.

Simon Avery is taking part in the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster kayak race as he aims to raise money for two local charities, Julia’s House and MV Freedom.

Mr Avery was leaving the Wiltshire town this morning and will have to paddle an average 35 miles a day to get to the Thames, before finishing the race on schedule at Westminster on Easter Monday.

He is no stranger to taking on mammoth tasks for charity having previously conquered the Three Peaks challenge, climbing the three highest mountains in the United Kingdom within 24 hours, and the Dartmoor challenge – but he said this would be his toughest one yet.

Mr Avery said: “This will definitely be the toughest one I have ever done.

“The three peaks was tough but kayaking is a whole different thing.

“You can hardly use your leg muscles when kayaking it’s all about upper body strength, so I have done a lot of weight lifting in the last six months.”

The idea to compete in the kayak race came after a discussion with workmates. Mr Avery works onboard a seismic survey ship, called the Oceanic Challenger off the coast of northern Norway for six months every year.

One evening, he and his shipmates were on board the ship and were watching local people kayaking in Norweigan Sea when one of his colleagues challenged the group to take up the sport.

His colleagues will also join him during the race as his support team, providing him with food and water as he looks to spend up to 10 hours a day kayaking.

He has already raised nearly £700, but has set his sights on raising around £3,000 to be split between his two chosen charities.

Mr Avery added: “We were in the Arctic Circle watching some locals with their kayaks and someone said it would be a good idea to do it back home in the UK, and it took off from there.

“I have been in intense training for it for about six months now, mainly focusing on the endurance side of it and lifting weights.

“MV Freedom is a charity that helps out people, and they take disabled children out to sea on a boat, and Julia’s House also does some great charitable work.

“I am one of these people that I want to give the money to charities that will use the money and every penny I raise will be donated to these causes.”

Mr Avery is now appealing for donations before his race this Friday and for more information or to donate visit the website justgiving.com/teamsharkavery