Fitting tribute in memory of volunteer, 63

INSPIRED: Dawn and Amanda Coppock are doing the Sudbury to the Sea challenge in memory of their father.
INSPIRED: Dawn and Amanda Coppock are doing the Sudbury to the Sea challenge in memory of their father.

Three sisters are to paddle in their father’s slipstream to celebrate his memory and raise money for the charities he dedicated his time to.

Dawn and Amanda Coppock will be joined by sister Julie Byham when they take part in Sudbury to the Sea next month.

The trio are to travel 24 miles along the River Stour by canoe from The Granary in Quay Lane to the Cattawade Barrier and back.

The sisters have been inspired to complete the distance by their father, David Coppock, who was a member of the River Stour Trust and volunteered for the Sudbury Common Lands Charity.

Mr Coppock died in January 2011 after suffering a heart attack while working for the charity at King’s Marsh Meadow.

“Dad was always trying to help charity and volunteering in his own time,” said Dawn, 33. “He was a very bubbly person and had a dry sense of humour.”

Amanda, 27, and Julie, 29, both from Sudbury, along with Dawn, who lives in Colchester, felt the challenge would be an apt way of remembering their dad and raising money for the two organisations.

“We thought it would be a fitting tribute as dad took part in the event himself when he was in his early 60s,” said Dawn.

“We will be doing the same route as dad and we thought it was the perfect way to raise some money. I remember him being very excited about the event and he said it was quite a challenge.”

As well as navigating the precise course Mr Coppock followed, Dawn is also planning to use the same mode of transport – her dad’s kayak – while Amanda and Julie will share a Canadian canoe.

They had a practice run on Sunday and are feeling confident ahead of the annual paddle, which takes place on September 6 and 7 and attracts hundreds of people.

“We have never done Sudbury to the Sea before, but we know we can do it,” said Dawn. “We have done a six-mile practice and I feel better after doing that. We have all canoed before, just not this sort of distance.”

She added that mum Sandra, from Chaucer Road, was proud of their efforts.

“Dad was a real family man and was married to mum for 40 years,” said Dawn. “She thinks what we are doing is a good idea.”

The aim of the Sudbury Common Lands Charity is to enhance the environment around the town’s riverside and Dawn said she hoped her and her sisters’ efforts would make more people aware of the work they do.

“People use the land for walking dogs and having picnics but don’t realise that it is the volunteers that keep it going,” she said.

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