Braving both the elements and a fair amount of mickey-taking (although mostly from ourselves), Naked Marketing once again entered a team into the Pudsey Paddle for BBC Children in Need 2019. This is an annual event held at Whitlingham Country Park and organised by Whitlingham Adventure, inviting teams of six to enter a series of heats paddling against each other in brightly coloured Katakanus.
This was our second year entering a team and our performance last year was hampered only by a complete and utter lack of skill, so we went into this with fairly low expectations.
With 11 teams to compete against, some of whom looked not only resplendent in their fancy dress but also like they knew what they were doing, we were doubtful of a high place finish. But we told ourselves it was not about the winning… it was, after all, in aid of a very good cause.
However, we did have one secret weapon – the legend himself ‘Naked Steve’! Whilst Steve’s origins remain shrouded in mystery, his dedication to Team Naked is unquestionable. Standing in for Dave (who, quite frankly, can be a real liability on these sort of adventures), Steve proved to be the right man(nequin) for the job.
Our team name, Mannequin Overboard, hinted at the potential for at least one of us to end up in the cold, wet waters of Whitlingham broad but, through a combination of teamwork, timing and some terrible language, none of us got more than a wet bum.
Things started well and, in an effort to bring some much-needed rhythm to our paddling, the oldest member of the team was calling ‘stroke’ but, by halfway along the course, we wondered whether his shouting was, in fact, a comment on his state of health! Still, to our complete surprise, we survived the two heats and managed to make the final. Although we were tired from just finishing the previous heat, this was it, an all or nothing, no guts no glory, give it 110% race between the three fastest teams.
It was fast, we were fatigued, and it was over in a flash. Three minutes of furious paddling and some further choice language and we finished second! This was beyond incredible and, despite our exhaustion, we were jubilant!
All in all, the event raised over £1100 for BBC Children in Need, beating the total from the previous year by some margin. Naked Marketing are proud to have been part of this and we’re looking forward to next year, when we might actually put some practice in beforehand!
By Ben Handford on 26.11.19