Former soldier helps create canoe trail

Gregg Stevenson, a former soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan, has been making a huge difference to the lives of people in Lancashire by rallying support for the country’s first ever coast to coast canoe trail.

Gregg Stevenson at Foulridge Tunnel

While supporting the Royal Marines in Helmand Province, Gregg lost both legs, one below the knee and one just above it. Since recovering and becoming the recipient of the world’s most advanced bionic knee, Gregg has turned his attention to helping others.

Creating a canoe trail

While working for the Prince’s Trust he watched a presentation given by Rob Hardy, the team leader responsible for the Desmond Family Canoe Trail. The presentation showed how we plan to use 2,000 young people from deprived communities to help create a canoe trail over 160 miles long, the country’s first coast to coast canoe trail.

A month later Gregg found himself working as a tutor at Nelson College in Lancashire, managing a programme to support 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training. Spotting an opportunity to make a difference to the local community and the young people within the programme he got in touch with Rob to see how we could work together.

Learning to canoe

Gregg and his team of 16-17 year olds have now been working with us for about five months, helping us build the trail and make it attractive to others. The young adults have been learning how to canoe, taking part in canoe based litter-picking, making hedgehog boxes and even re-painting Barrowford Locks.

The 16-17 year olds have been gaining the confidence and skills, which will help them find work in later life. While they have been learning new skills and making new friends, everyone in the community has gained from the help they’ve been giving. Life’s better by the water and thanks to the help of Gregg and his young volunteers more people are able to benefit from having this special place to unwind.

Last date edited: 19 June 2018