FOUR friends will be dodging ships, strong currents and choppy waters in a bid to paddle across the channel in a kayak to raise cash for soldiers’ charity Help For Heroes.

Serving RAF officers Mark Radbourne and Mark Muddiman, former TA soldier Paul Ledbury and Paddy Thompson, whose brother Liam is a serving Royal Marine, plan to row across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes this summer.

The team, all from Banbury, is hoping to raise £5,000 for the charity, through sponsorship and selling advertising space on their challenge T-shirts.

Mr Thompson said: “The team has been training hard since last summer, paddling at the Banbury Canoe Club, at Cropredy, and the RAF Canoe Club near Henley, and will soon be starting sea training in Wales to get experience in choppy waters before the big event.

“The route is a very challenging — 24 miles with strong tides, currents and sea conditions, and we will have to face the busiest shipping lane in the world.

“So a determined mind and physical fitness is essential.

“We are doing this because quite simply because it is hard, admittedly not as hard as serving overseas but hard enough to hopefully catch and eye or two and gain public interest for a charity which means a great deal to all of the team.”

Mr Radbourne said: “As a serving officer in the Royal Air Force, Help for Heroes is a charity close to me and the rest of the team who have links to the military.

“This charity is doing great work, providing critical support to our wounded returning from operations in Afghanistan.”

They have set themselves six hours to complete the 24-mile journey and will set off from Shakespeare Beach, in Dover, at 9am on June 11, and hope to reach France at 3pm. To sponsor the team view CrossChannelPaddle2012