Pair to kayak across English Channel for Parkinson's charity

By Thomas Parkes | Staffordshire | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Two men from Gnosall are set to kayak across the English Channel to raise money for a Parkinson's Disease charity.

David Edwardson and Matthew Emsley are set to take on the English Channel

David Edwardson, who was diagnosed with the condition more than four years ago, has fought a constant battle to retain his identity.

Now the former Express & Star worker aims to help others by raising vital funds for Parkinson's UK.

David, 59, alongside friend Matthew Emsley, will take on the 18.5-mile challenge in August.

So far David has raised more than £12,000 for the charity – and £2,000 for the challenge on a JustGiving page.

David Edwardson and Matthew Emsley getting in some practice

He said: "It's been challenging. Fitness wise, I can't speak for Matt, but I'm struggling because of my Parkinson's. It's been pretty bad for the last few days and we're trying very hard.

"Getting a main sponsor is my man focus. I've spent the last few days writing to people."

The pair, who currently train at Gailey Canoe Club, started preparing in November – with Matthew a compete beginner to the sport.


David said: "Matt has been incredible. He looks very very at ease – he was struggling with the technique for weeks and weeks but I'm very proud off him."

The duo were also invited to Poole Harbour Canoe Club earlier this month for sea training.

David, who worked in the merchandising department at Express & Star, said working at the paper had helped to restore some confidence.

David Edwardson and Matthew Emsley getting in some practice


His symptoms affect his ability to walk, co-ordinate, speech and affects body movement and dexterity.

The father of two said he was "nervous" over the challenge, and is determined to "knuckle down".

He said: "I'm a little bit worried about it.

"You can be fit for it but Parkinson's is very unpredictable. But I'll knuckle down and get onto it."

The aim of the challenge is to show people with the condition they can still follow your dreams.

"I may have Parkinson's, but it doesn't have me," David added.

To become a sponsor, email and quote "Team K2".

Visit the fundraising page at

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at


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