The former Taunton Royal Marine kayaking 100 miles for charity on Christmas Day

Credit: Jon White / Instagram @jonwhite50

A former Royal Marines officer from Somerset will be spending his Christmas rowing 100 miles to raise money for charity.

Triple amputee Jon White will be kayaking up and down the Grand Western Canal, which stretches from Somerset to South Devon.

He’s mapped out a ten-mile route, which he will complete ten times. He estimates that the whole thing will take between 18 and 20 hours.

He told ITV News West Country: “On Christmas Day, I will spend the morning with my children as I normally do, we’ll do the present unwrapping, but then I’m going to get on the canal in my kayak and paddle the 100 miles for charity.

“The Grand Western Canal is 11 miles long; I’ve marked out a ten-mile route and I’ll be doing ten lengths of the canal.

“I spend a lot of time in a Kayak anyway. I’m lucky enough to represent Great Britain in a couple of different disciplines so I’m out all the time training.”

Jon is raising money for the Royal Marines Charity (RMA), which, like many others, has suffered immensely as a result of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Next year, it’s estimated that the charity will run at a 900-thousand-pound deficit. He told ITV West country that he wants to give back to the organisation.

He said: “They’ve been a huge supporter of me over the last 12 years and they’ve really struggled over the past few.

"It’s been a tough time since the Afghan conflict slipped from the media’s attention, paired with the pandemic and recession.

“I thought if I did a big challenge and did it on a day when nobody else is likely to be doing it, I’d make more of a difference.”

Formerly a Royal Marines officer, Jon said he hasn’t taken on any additional training for his Christmas Day 'kayakathon.'

“Of late, a lot of my training has been more power orientated, but with my time as a Royal Marine and a Royal Marines officer and some of the other events I’ve done as well, I tend to be good at managing my body which is the key to all of this.

“I’ve been getting into a routine and making sure I don’t push myself too far. I’ll also make sure that I fuel myself correctly along the way.”

Jon’s family will be at the starting line, but is encouraging people living nearby to show their support.

“My kids and family think I’m slightly mad but they’ll be waving me off at the start. It would be nice to have some additional support along the way though!”Jon’s JustGiving page explores his full story. His 100-mile journey can be tracked here.