Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Scout leaders' Swan pedalo Thames challenge under way

Pedalo crew Image copyright Swan Pedalo Challenge
Image caption The pedalo crew estimate the journey wil take six or seven days

Three Scout leaders have begun a charity challenge to ride a swan pedalo the length of the River Thames.

Colin Dippie, 49, Jane-Louise Bassett, 47 and Ash Wilson, 38, set off from Fiddlers Island, north of Oxford, and hope to complete a 125 mile (200km) trip to the Isle of Dogs.

They are aiming to finish the journey within seven days and are raising money for epilepsy and guide dogs charities.

Despite early progress, the swan developed a leak near Oxford.

Image copyright Swan Pedalo Challenge
Image caption The swan had to be hauled out of the water near Oxford city centre

Ms Bassett earlier said they were making "fantastic progress" but later posted on Facebook they had to haul the craft onto the riverbank after it began taking on water near the city centre.

She insisted they would "continue and not be daunted" and they were able to get back on the water after the hole was repaired

Speaking before departure, Mr Dippie said they would be "pushing the limit" of the fibreglass swan.

He said the "mad" idea had been inspired by comedians Griff Rhys Jones, Dara O'Briain and Rory McGrath, who made a trip down the Thames in a skiff for a BBC TV series.

Mr Dippie said he managed to buy a new three-seat fibreglass swan off the internet.

Image copyright Swan Pedalo Challenge
Image caption The crew were able to get back on the water after repairing the leak
Image copyright Swan Pedalo Challenge
Image caption The trio set off from Fiddlers Island shortly after 10:00 BST

It has since been named Pokeswan Go and fitted with navigation lights and an air horn.

They are aiming to complete about 20 miles (32km) each day and face 45 river locks.

Mr Dippie and Ms Bassett are Scout leaders in Bramshill, Hampshire while Mr Wilson leads a Fareham pack.

The trio are raising money for Young Epilepsy and Guide Dogs for the Blind. The swan will be sold off to boost funds after the trip is completed.

Image copyright Swan Pedalo Challenge
Image caption The team enjoyed sunny conditions for the start of the trip

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