Forty-five kitesurfers from across east Kent have raised £1,800 for autism causes with their annual ‘downwinder’ fundraiser.
The kitesurfers, headed up by Ramsgate Kite Pirates with Start Fresh PT and Born Anxious, set off from Westbrook on Sunday (December 1) on a 25kt north easterly wind.
The fancy dress was in full swing and before long wizards and giant squid were flying through the air and over the water on their way to Whitstable. The journey lasted about two hours and took in the Reculver tower and Herne Bay pier.
The spectacle raised the cash for The Kent Autistic Trust, in partnership with Born Anxious- which is a small local business that produces a range of ethically manufactured kids and adults clothes to raise awareness of the problems children and families living with autism face daily.
Speaking on behalf of the kitesurfers, Graeme Rolbiecki, from the Kite Pirates, said: “The Kent Autistic Trust and Born Anxious were brought to our attention earlier this year during free kitesurf taster sessions that were run at the BKA Kitesurf freestyle championships in Ramsgate in conjunction with Active Ramsgate.
“A young family with children on the autistic spectrum came down to the beach to get involved and fly some kites. They enjoyed the day so much that one of the parents reached out to thank us personally. He explained that days on the beach and sports in general can be very challenging for autistic children and that the super friendly instructor had made the whole experience very inclusive and fun.
“This prompted us to reach out and see if there was anything else we could do. So, this year in conjunction with Born Anxious, we made the Kent Autistic Trust the benefactors of our end of teaching season charity effort.
“The support vessel had a busy morning rescuing a few wayward boards but on the whole a great day was had by all and everyone got home safe and sound, if a little chilled!!
“The event raised over £1800. It’s not too late for people to contribute to our JustGive page, all proceeds go straight to the Kent Autistic Trust.”