TRIBUTES to canoe enthusiast Kevin Dobson, who trained for the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race despite having terminal cancer, have been paid by friends and family.

Mr Dobson's bid to complete the race with his son Edd this Easter were thwarted by coronavirus but he was back in his boat after lockdown eased at the end of May.

But on July 28 he lost his battle with a rare form of cancer. His wife Ann Slator, who is also a Devizes Canoe Club stalwart, said: "Kevin completed his last portage on Tuesday evening, supported and surrounded, as always, by his family.

"True to form he spent very little time messing about in the last few days and a very short period of time unable to do the things he loved. His final paddle was on the 12th of July with his long term paddling partner Paul in the sunshine down at Devizes Canoe Club."

Mr Dobson, 61, from Chippenham, was told last September he only had four to six months to live.

But he set himself of completing the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race in April to raise money for Dorothy House hospice. He managed to raise £11,000 despite the race being cancelled.

At the end of May as he took to the canal once more he said: “I am just living from day to day now. If I can get to June 10 that would be a big milestone as that would be my nine month anniversary of being diagnosed. I have a rare form of cancer and the chemotherapy is no longer working.

“I am enjoying the good weather, being with my family and getting out on the canal with my son Edward or a friend.”

His daughters Robin and Emily returned from abroad to by by his side.

He said: “We are enjoying being together. I set myself little targets to reach but try not to dwell on my health.”

Mr Dobson, who gave up his career as a solicitor to become a lorry driver for Wessex Water in Bath, wanted to raise as much money as possible for Dorothy House hospice which supported him and his family.

His family said: "His final paddle was on the 12th of July with his long term paddling partner Paul in the sunshine down at Devizes Canoe Club.

"There was no doubt that Dorothy House would be our fundraising choice. Their support over this time has been remarkable and the work they do is truly incredible.

"We would like to thank everyone for not only helping Kevin and Edd raise over £11,000 for Dorothy House but also thank everyone for the wonderful support and messages and encouragement we received throughout.

"He was a magnificent husband, father and friend and is truly an inspiration and we are all very proud of him. We will be closing the justgiving page on the 10th August, his 11th month diagnosis anniversary, if anyone would like to make any final donations.

"It is our intention, when the world calms down a little bit, to have a large celebration of Kevin's life."

Edd is now training for next year

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