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31st August 2020
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Franke sponsors specialist clothing for injured soldiers suffering gruelling Yukon kayaking expedition in Canadian Alaska
Franke Sissons, Chesterfield, has sponsored the specialist clothing for four severely injured soldiers to kayak 465 miles down the Yukon River in Canadian Alaska, during September 2015, with the Pilgrim Bandits Charity.
Pilgrim Bandits' extreme expeditions are designed to push men and women from the Army, Navy, RAF, Police, Ambulance and Fire services to the absolute limit. For those having sustained horrendous injuries either in the line of duty or during the time of their service in some other capacity, these challenges rebuild confidence and self-esteem, by requiring participants to use a huge range of professional skills gained in service.
Pilgrim Bandits Charity was founded by ex-SAS veterans to provide extreme physical challenges to severely injured men and women from all the services to enable them to rebuild personal confidence. By working with schools, colleges, care homes and young offenders' institutes, Pilgrim Bandits Charity also seeks to inspire underprivileged young people by sharing these remarkable experiences in informal and informative presentations with interactive question and answer sessions.
"This is our toughest expedition yet," says Steve Beard, CEO of Pilgrim Bandits Charity. "The Yukon is one of the fastest flowing rivers in the world... if you capsize you are potentially swept a mile away from the expedition in just seconds. It's cold, desolate and there are the added risks of brown bears, grizzly bears and moose. Warm clothing and dry suits are critical.
"Our lads have had to go through a really tough selection test for this expedition, being physically able is only part of the criteria, they have to be mentally tough and to work as part of a tight- knit team. That applies to carers too. We don't rule out lads taking part because they need a carer, like most military charities, but the carer has to qualify in their own right too. At one point on the expedition we will be over 100 miles from a road, or any kind of transport connection!"
Andy Dukelow, managing director of Franke Sissons in Chesterfield, an ex-soldier himself, explains the company's involvement. "We have supported the Pilgrim Bandits on a couple of occasions in the past but this expedition is incredible, we will look forward to welcoming some of the team to our factory in Chesterfield after the event."
Image: Pilgrim Bandits injured soldiers on last year's expedition - The Cockleshell Heroes
31st July 2015