England

Burns victim from Gloucester canoes round Britain

Simon Beeson
Image caption Simon Beeson will be canoeing overnight as part of his challenge to travel around the UK coastline

A 65-year-old man from Gloucester is hoping to become the oldest person to canoe around the coast of Britain.

Simon Beeson from Highnam, who suffered 86% burns in a chemical accident 20 years ago, set off from Knowle Beach in Dorset just after midday.

Mr Beeson said the 2,500-mile (4,000 km) trip, which will raise money for charity, would take about eight weeks.

The canoeist spent 10 weeks in intensive care after he was injured when a barrel of acetone exploded.

Mr Beeson said of the challenge: "It's something I've really wanted to do all my canoeing life. If I don't do it now I won't be capable."

He said he would paddle "five hours on and seven hours off" in order to make the greatest use of the tides. This will mean at times he will canoe overnight.

"I'll start off from Studland and go clockwise around the country," he said.

"I'll paddle along the south coast, turn right at Lands End and head north."

Mr Beeson had to learn to walk again after the accident. It took 18 months for him to recover.

The journey will raise money for Dan's Funds for Burns, which offers support to people who have been affected by life-threatening burns and their families.

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