Charity and community

Spence Willard are proud to support a number of local causes, charities and sports. This year that will include sponsoring Associate Director Sam Branston’s attempt to complete the Yukon River Quest, alongside his former British Army comrades

The 444 mile stretch of water in Canada hosts the longest annual paddling endurance race in the world, through untouched wilderness. The ‘Soldier up the Yukon’ team will compete on individual stand-up paddleboards. It takes up to three and half days of paddling, with two enforced stops, and includes crossing the 50km windy Lake Laberge – and the class II Five Finger Rapids. The team must carry all the safety kit, food and equipment they need to survive unsupported in the wild.

The challenge will raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, which funds vital support for families and children, life-saving equipment, research and refurbishment.

The team consists of four ex-army officers from the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, Mike Procter and Ben Ashwell; Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Captain Stu Croxford and Spence Willard’s Sam Branston, a former Rifles Regiment Captain.

“We wanted to attempt something that would test our administration skills, fitness and endurance and also put

these efforts to good use by raising money for an extremely valid cause,” said Sam Branston.

“Those who have completed it say the key battles include staying awake on the long low-light night stretches and avoiding hypothermia from getting wet and exhaustion. In the army they use sleep deprivation as an aid to training commanders in making decisions and operating under pressure. We are hoping these skills and experiences have stuck with us, otherwise we could be spending plenty of time in the glacial water or taking a wrong turn into some rapids!”

In the lead up to the event, the team has undertaken several training expeditions, including on the Thames, Lake Como, the River Wye and around the Isle of Wight. The main event is due to take place between 26th and 29th June 2019.

Charles Spence MRICS, Managing Director of Spence Willard said: “We are pleased to be able to support Sam and the #soldieruptheyukon team.

“We are effective as a company as a result of the experienced staff and their strong links formed with the

Find out more details about these sponsorships at

communities in which they work. A big part of that is getting involved in activities, projects, clubs and organisations. We provide support where we can.

“With Sam’s forthcoming expedition to Canada, it is about getting behind an impressive and inspirational challenge while supporting a good cause in Great Ormond Street Hospital. From the company’s perspective, it’s also about endorsing our staff in their own pursuits outside of work, which can develop them as individuals in so many ways – which in turn is of great benefit to us.”

Spence Willard are also proud to continue its support for other local causes across the Isle of Wight, including Brading Haven Yacht Club, the Royal Solent Yacht Club’s Wednesday Evening Series, Yarmouth Sailing Club’s Dinghy Regatta, West Wight Marathon, Mountbatten Hospice, IW Youth Sports Awards, IW Literary Festival, Towers Gala and the Yarmouth Spence Willard Sandcastle Competition.

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