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The eleventh Joe Way Paddle for Life at Newquay Harbour, a charity event which has now raised £152,000 in total, started with dramatic scenes as three skydivers jumped from a plane at just 4,000ft.
Parachutists Ben Wood, Andy Montriou and Dave Wood gave the crowds a real show, landing on Towan beach with very little beach to spare. Dave, who jumped two years ago, had the honor of deploying Joe’s flag which went without a hitch much to the delight of the crowds. The three skydivers were then picked up by Cornwall Surf Life Saving and entered the harbour to huge applause, their next task was to start the first paddle heat which was followed by Chris Fowler treating the crowds to a flyby.
Local boy, Joe, was born with a rare genetic condition and died on the May 7, 2008 aged 4. He had been labelled a miracle boy after surviving meningitis, a potentially deadly skin reaction SJS, numerous superbugs but finally died of complete organ failure after suffering from Steven Johnson Syndrome for a second time.
Since his death his parents, Matt and Claire Way, have campaigned tirelessly to raise money for over 20 causes in his name.
The annual Paddle for Life in partnership with Newquay Towan Blystra Lions Club and Surf Life Saving Cornwall raises money from the paddlers entry money, food stalls, drink sales at the rowing club and the prize draw raffle. The hugely successful raffle included a luxury lodge break at Gwel an Mor Resort in Portreath and a signed guitar from James Morrison as some of the prizes.
There was a great musical sunset session to finish off the fun sunny day and this year's line-up consisted of Steel Appeal, local sensation Daisy Clark, Blues Brothers On The Run who ended up running through the crowds in front of the Rowing Club whilst performing and The Silent Disco. The England v Belgium match finally finished the night off in the Rowing Club.
This year also saw a flyby from the Cornwall Air Ambulance helicopter so there was never a dull moment from start to finish.
Titan the Robot gave another spectacular show bringing the event to a standstill with his show which included soaking Newquay Mayor Andy Hannan who, as a Towan Blystra Lions member, helps organise the event.
The paddle races saw children of all abilities paddling in memory of the Newquay toddler with commentary from Dean Woods and Matt Way. The relay was won by Newquay Surf Life Saving Club and, with lots of teams taking part, it was a fierce competition.
The RNLI race was one of the most competitive so far, after a speech from Matt which fired up all the lifeguards reminding the newcomers they were paddling on the shoulders of giants alongside some of the original paddlers from 10 years ago. Fistral won the relay and the Joe Way Memorial Cup, taking a huge lead right from the start.
The Paddle event has a lot of local business support and great raffle prizes. The Way family would to thank the following people: Cornwall Surf Life Saving, Newquay Surf Life Saving, Lusty Surf Life Saving, Perran Signs, P&J Print, The Garage Co, Andy Loo’s, Hutton hire, SW Hire, Skinners Ales, The Rowing Club, Bookers of Newquay, Ultra Entertainment, Millstone Sound, Beach safety team, Frontline security, Purple gecko events, first response GB, Newquay Activity Centre, Water safety provided by Cornwall Surf Life Saving, Newquay Harbour Sports, Harbour Master, Coastal Crepes, Newquay fisherman, POW Energy Water, Ben Skinner, Tom Butler, Newquay Towan Blystra Lions and all the family and friends who helped and supported the event.
Thanks to Mike at Newquay Morrinsons, Mark from Signz’s and Kev from Trelinda B&B for providing water at the last minute to help the safety teams get through the day.
The following charities also supported the event: The Wave Project, Children's Hospice Southwest, Surfers Against Sewage and Cornwall Air Ambulance.
This year's event is looking at a total of £5,200.00 with final amounts coming in and will be given to various charities in the coming weeks. This takes Joe’s total to over £152,000.00 over the last ten years.
Matt Way said “The weather was the best we have ever had, the sea was flat and everything went to plan. The event creates a very special atmosphere in the harbour and our children as they get older understand more about what Joe’s story means to people which is very comforting for us as parents”.
Phil Bunt of Towan Blystra Lions Club said: “Joe’s Paddle for Life has grown to be one of Newquay’s most enjoyable and worthwhile days and we are already thinking about next year”.
For photos of this year event check out our Facebook page.