Sisters’ charity paddle in memory of dad

Sisters doing the annual Sudbury to the Sea canoe challenge in memory of their father who died from

Sisters doing the annual Sudbury to the Sea canoe challenge in memory of their father who died from a heart attack while volunteering for Sudbury common lands trust. Left to right, Julie Byham, Dawn Coppock and Amanda Coppock. - Credit: Archant

Three sisters are taking to the water in memory of their father, who passed away while volunteering for a charity at a Suffolk beauty spot.

Amanda and Dawn Coppock, and their sister Julie Byham, will take part in the popular Sudbury to the Sea (S2C) canoe challenge in September.

Participants in the event, which started in the 1970s and attracts paddlers from across the UK, navigate 24½ miles of the River Stour, from Sudbury to the Cattawade Barrier and back.

The women are taking the challenge to raise money for the Sudbury Common Lands Charity. Their father David Coppock died after suffering a heart attack while working in a volunteer party with the charity at Sudbury’s water meadows.

Mr Coppock, who was just 63 years old, was also a keen member of the River Stour Trust and had recently achieved his skipper’s licence. Amanda, 27, said: “Dad volunteered with both organisations and he died when he was helping to clear trees at King’s Marsh meadow with the Common Lands Charity.

“He was an import manager and worked in an office all day so he took every opportunity he could to work outside. He particularly enjoyed working with like-minded volunteers.”

S2C, which this year takes place on September 7 and 8, was originally designed to ensure that the Stour navigation was used, and to enable conservationists to note any problems on the river. Nowadays it is regarded as a challenging social paddle.

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Dawn, 33, said: “We have raised money for the Common Lands Charity before through dad’s funeral and we wanted to find an appropriate way of raising some more cash. Dad took part in S2C himself and his birthday was September 27 so we felt it would be a fitting tribute. I will be completing the course in dad’s canoe and Julie and Amanda will be together in another canoe.”

According to Julie, 29, the paddle is not just about fundraising. She said: “Dad was very passionate about the charity and promoting it to other people. Many people enjoy walks in the common lands area but don’t realise that the work the charity carries out maintaining rivers, ponds, trees and plants is all voluntary. We wanted to make people aware of the positive work they carry out.”

Although none of the trio has canoed seriously before, the sisters have a fundraising target of £1,000. To help them reach it, go to to donate.

Visit for more information about the charity.

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