First for Devizes to Westminster race as 16-year-old siblings prepare to take to water

Triplets Harry, Ruby and Freddie Holt are taking part in the Devizes to Westminster canoe race

Triplets Harry, Ruby and Freddie Holt are taking part in the Devizes to Westminster canoe race

First published in News
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Potterne triplets Harry, Fred and Ruby Holt have already set a new record even before they take to the water on the Devizes to Westminster canoe race.

It is thought the 16-year-old siblings are the first triplets ever to take part in the 125-mile endurance race due to take place over the Easter weekend.

Although all three, from Potterne Wick, are pupils at Dauntsey’s School in West Lavington, Ruby is the only one selected for the seven crews that will represent the school.

Harry and Fred are teaming up to take part under the aegis of Devizes Canoe Club.

The triplets’ mum, Juliet Holt, said: “They all put their names down but there were 13 crews vying for seven places.

“They took part in trials at the end of last year but Harry and Fred lost out by seconds so the school suggested they try Devizes Canoe Club.

“They took part in the Water-side races along the Kennet and Avon Canal and they have done very well. They took part in the Waterside C last weekend, which is 34 miles, and, although they suffered some blisters and aches, they feel in good shape for the big race at Easter.”

Ruby has teamed up with Ruth Wilson in the Dauntsey’s crews.

The school’s other entries are Sophie Alexander and Emma Adams, Finlay Kenneth and Alice Cavanagh, Olivia Fisher and Matt Williams, George Akerman and Bryn New, Charlie Nutland and Archie Tawney and Toby Dibble and Henry Giles.

Other Dauntseians set to paddle under Devizes Canoe Club colours are Elliott Berning and David Winchcombe, Toby Sampson and Sacha Yates and Isabel Papworth-Smith and Kevin Ridley.

Allister Sheffield, the member of staff in charge of the Dauntsey’s crews, said: “As a school we have very close links with Devizes Canoe Club and have supported them, and received support from them, for many years.

“The Dobsons – Kevin, Ann and Edd – have been integral in the training and encouragement of all of our pupils. It is a huge undertaking to have this number of school pupils compete in an event the magnitude of Devizes to Westminster.”

Also among the canoe club entries are local vets Jacky and Ian Macqueen, who won the Endeavour class last year and are entered in this year’s senior doubles class, which means paddling non-stop the length of the canal from Devizes to Reading, and then along the River Thames to Westminster Bridge.

FACTFILE

  • The first race took place in 1948 when four Devizes Rover Scouts – Peter Brown, Brian Walters, Laurie Jones and Brian Smith – paddled the length of the Kennet and Avon Canal, then largely derelict, to the Thames and on to Westminster Bridge
  • Entrants must paddle 125 miles with 77 portages, where the paddlers must lift their boat out of the water and carry it around obstacles such as locks and weirs
  • Only entrants in the senior doubles class paddle through the night; other classes stop at designated camp sites along the route
  •  The standing record – 15hrs 34mins – for the fastest non-stop completion of the course was set by Greenham and Cornish in 1979

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