A FLEET of 100 kayaks will be hitting the Gippsland Lakes on Wednesday, March 13, as part of the third, four-day Sale to Sea fundraising event.
The kayaks will be paddled by people with disabilities (amputees, vision impaired, wheelchair bound and a few with mental health issues) with the support of able-bodied participants, on the 120 kilometre journey from Sale to Lakes Entrance.
Event organiser Andrew Bedggood of Maffra will lead the fleet, raising funds for local charities.
Mr Bedggood created the event to give people with disabilities the chance to show they could achieve remarkable things.
The first Sale to Sea event, held in October 2009, attracted six kayakers, three being amputees and three with other disabilities.
The second, in 2011, drew 60 kayakers and the third is set to be bigger still with kayakers travelling from around Australia, and even internationally, to participate.
Mr Bedggood began kayaking as part of his rehabilitation after a car accident in 1983 when he was 19.
“The vehicle I was travelling in ran out of fuel five minutes from home, and while I was standing at the boot of our car another vehicle ran off the road and collided with the rear of our vehicle at 100km per hour,” he said.
“As a result my right leg was amputated below the knee, the left leg was crushed below the knee and I also suffered head injuries.”
“I now do a lot of sea and white water kayaking because when I am in my boats my legs don’t matter and I can do more than most able-bodied people,” he said.
When kayaks push off from the Port of Sale, Mr Bedggood hopes that, like last year, local members of the police and ambulance services will have teams entered in support.