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19th November 2017

Friends take on turbulent waters


On 1st October good friends Jo Leah and Libby Smith set off for Zambia – this is no holiday for Libby’s 50th year celebrations but a challenge which will take them 100km along one of the toughest rivers in Africa – the mighty Zambezi.

The duo will be paddling dug out wooden canoes, inflatable kayaks on the upper river before then taking to rafts to ride the white waters near Victoria Falls. They will need to negotiate the unforgiving rapids, dodging rocks, crocs and hippos!
Added to the experience is wild camping, sweltering heat, high humidity and the potential of blisters.
In undertaking this challenge the ladies are seeking to raise money and awareness for a discreet local charity that is very personal to them. Lighthouse (formally Ipswich Women’s Aid) is based in Suffolk and provides support to women and their children experiencing domestic abuse in their personal or family relationships.

Commenting on the cause chosen Jo says – “When someone you love goes through difficult times you suddenly become aware of the amazing support services our community has to assist, Libby adds ” We are very aware of the great work that Lighthouse do in Ipswich and wanted to use our adventure to raise awareness and funds to support them” .

This is the second time the girls have left their comfortable Suffolk office to assist local charities -5 years ago they climbed Kilimanjaro and raised an amazing £15,000 for Lighthouse and St Elizabeth Hospice. Jo is GM Sales at Ipswich Building Society an organisation very supportive of staff fundraising initiatives who will match fund the money donated for this challenge and Libby is Office Manger for Pequod based in Stowmarket where her team have been very supportive and accommodating of her training regime.

Libby says “ It’s a milestone year for me I wanted to push the boundaries and try new things, Jo and I have been friends for more than 25 years – I knew she would be up for the adventure and we are looking forward to sharing what we hope will be exhilarating if not a little scary experience.”

Jo tells us that their training has not been extensive” Our families shared a holiday in Croatia this year so this provided a useful opportunity for canoeing practice – I guess we did a couple of miles each day. It’s not so much about the stamina (though I am sure it will be tough) it’s more about staying alert avoiding the obstacles – especially the crocs and hippos !”

If you would like to donate please visit http://www.lighthousewa.org.uk/ for links to their fundraising pages. Or perhaps consider undertaking your own challenge for this very deserving cause.

Libby Smith (left) & Jo Leah (right ) trying a Canadian canoe in the Wye Valley

Libby Smith (left) & Jo Leah (right ) trying a Canadian canoe in the Wye Valley

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