Sign up now to join the first charity canoe race on the Great Ouse in Bedford

Bedford Canoe Race launch
Bedford Canoe Race launch

Get your paddles ready for the great Bedford Canoe Race being launched to help a hospice.

The charity canoe race will take place on the Embankment on Saturday, July 25 in aid of local adult and children’s charity, Keech Hospice Care.

Teams of any age and between one and four members can sign up to take part and take on either the 2, 4 or 8-hour relay race on a circuit between the Town Bridge and Butterfly Bridge.

The race is part of a much bigger weekend of sport and activities linked to the London 2012 legacy. Participants can chose from canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards which will be supplied free on the day. Training sessions are also available in advance if required.

Charity canoe race organiser Richard Harpham said: “Everyone loves splashing about on the river - it’s the heartbeat of Bedford. What better way to show the river off, take on a unique challenge and raise money for such a amazing local charity. When the pressure is on, as I’m completing the eight hour race myself, it’s the great cause of Keech Hospice which will keep me going. This race is for everyone in Bedford to take part in whatever your age, experience or fitness. Get out on the river and let’s paddle!”

Rebecca Eastwick, regional fundraiser at Keech Hospice Care said: “We love the idea of the canoe race and we hope the whole of Bedford gets behind it. We totally depend on events like this to help raise around 70 per cent of running costs as only 30 per cent of our funding comes from the NHS. Without events like this, we could not provide such vital services to the local community and help children and adults with life-limiting conditions have the highest quality of life.”

For more details and to register visit

The race is a partnership between Canoe Trail, Experience Bedfordshire, Keech Hospice, Team Beds and Luton and Viking Kayak Club.