Two Royal Marines who were injured in Afghanistan plan to paddle 125 miles over 30 hours as part of the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon taking place on Easter weekend

The pair hope to raise money for two Armed Forces charities, SSAFA Forces Help and the Royal Marines Association.

Captain Jon White, 28, from 40 Commando is a triple amputee after he was badly injured by an IED blast in Sangin, Afghanistan in June 2010. The explosion resulted in the loss of both of his legs and his right arm at the elbow. His paddling partner is Colour Sergeant Lee John Waters, 37, who was Jon’s troop Sergeant on Op HERRICK 12 at Patrol Base Mahboob before he was shot three times while on tour; in the face on the jaw, in the left hand and his left foot.

Jon, from Honiton, Devon, and Lee from Portsmouth, will be the only injured serviceman participating in the event this year. Jon is the most severely injured serviceman to ever take part in the marathon, one of the toughest endurance events open to armatures which is now in its 64th year.

The pair will have to complete the course non-stop, continuing through the night as they encounter 77 portages – locks and weirs – along the route. These portages pose the greatest challenge to the team as they will have to get in and out of the boat which is especially difficult for Jon with his prosthetic legs.

Jon says: “It’s not that easy for me to get in and out of the boat and carry the kayak. I’ll probably have to swap my prosthetic legs to walk a mile which will definitely slow us down a bit. Due to this, we will have a support group, which includes my wife Becky, working with us overnight. Our aim is to complete the marathon in under 30 hours and we hope to do this with the support of family and friends.”

The friends said that they decided to do the fundraiser to raise money for two charities that have helped them since they sustained their injuries – SSAFA Forces Help and the Royal Marines Association. “They have both helped us out quite a bit and it’s comforting to know that they are there for us whenever we need them”, explains Jon. “We are at a stage where we can give something back and say thank you for the support we have been given.”

Jon and Lee’s families stayed at SSAFA’s Norton Homes in Birmingham and Ashtead in Surrey, while they were both receiving treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. Norton Homes provide assisted accommodation for families injured service personnel.

Lee, who completed two Devizes to Westminster marathons in the early 90’s said: “The staff at Norton House do wonders to comfort the countless forces families that have had the misfortune to experience such turbulent times. I’m looking forward to doing the race with all of our unique challenges. Jon is a legend and is an inspiration to us all!”

Jon and Lee are hoping to raise money for SSAFA Forces Help and the Royal Marines Association. If you would like to sponsor them, please visit: or