AN eight-year-old girl is thought to have become the youngest person ever to kayak from Sudbury to Cattawade – a whopping 24.5 miles of the River Stour.
Isibella Johnson only took to the water with a paddle for the first time four months ago, but has now completed an endurance event that some adult kayakers and canoeists have failed to finish.
The St Gregory’s Primary School pupil was awarded a special certificate from the River Stour Trust to commemorate her achievement in Saturday’s Sudbury to the Sea event which saw her successfully navigate the 37km of waterways which harbour some treacherous currents.
Gary Johnson, Isibella’s father, of Alexander Road, Sudbury, said: “I think it is pretty fantastic, it is an amazing achievement.
“Not everyone who started finished and some gave up through exhaustion.”
When his daughter had heard her father was to be taking part in the Sudbury to the Sea event, the newly-enrolled Sudbury Canoe Club member insisted on going with him, but paddling solo in a kayak.
Mr Johnson said: “It is the first time she has gone on anything like this.
“I had encouraged her to take the sport up and I was doing the trip and she said ‘I want to do it’ and she was determined to do it and I was not sure I would be able to do it!”
The pair joined around 300 people on the trip, setting off from the quay in Sudbury at 8.30am and camping overnight at Wissington before finally arriving at the point where the river reaches the sea at Cattawade, near Manningtree, at around 4pm on Sunday.
“The River Stour Trust put on her certificate that she is the first eight-year-old they know that has completed it,” said Mr Johnson.
“She definitely wants to carry on now and go further in the sport.
“She was extremely tired during the trip and there was times she said she could not go any further.”
n For round-up and pictures of Sudbury to the Sea turn to Page 4