Seaford College students take on intense race to fund life-changing treatment

The canoeists stood proud as they received their finishers medals
The canoeists stood proud as they received their finishers medals

Students at an East Lavington school have taken on an intense race in a bid to fund life-changing treatment for a fellow student.

After months of hard training, 12 determined boys and girls from Seaford College have completed the Devizes to Westminster Canoe and Kayak Race 2019 in support of student Ellie Holt who is battling a serious illness.

Ellie has been diagnosed with Gastroparesis, POTs and potentially Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type, and is now on a mission to raise £75,000 to get to America where she can receive treatment which is unavailable on the NHS.

Despite facing four intense days over the Easter Weekend, testing their athletic abilities to limit, the students pushed through and raised more than £13,000.

Student Will Heath, who took part in the challenge, said: “When Charles Lunt was coaching us he said ‘when you feel like you can’t go on just think about someone who is having it tougher than you’.

“We all thought of Ellie and that gave us the push to continue”.

Paired up in the canoes Will and Ollie, Henry and Archie, Barney and Ben, Mark and Kaj, Beth and Coni, and Zoë and Fliss faced a tough total of 125 miles with 77 portages.

The first 52 miles took the students along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, then the next 55 miles were from the River Thames to Teddington and the final 17 mile stretch took the team on the tidal portion of the Thames.

Although the team have already raised an impressive amount of money through the race, some are already preparing for other endurance challenges to reach the £75,000 target and get Ellie to America.

For more on Ellie’s journey visit