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An oar-some time on the River Stour

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(Back row: (L to R) Lauren Clark, Louise Cousin, Sarah Watson, Rachel Bedford, Richard Spratley, Steve Stopher, Moin Uddin, David Flack

 Front row: Nicholas House, Latohya Hammond)

On Sunday 16th September, 10 members of staff from IPPlus Plc undertook an 11 mile Canoe trip starting from Sudbury and ending in Wissington. River Stour Boating CIC is a Community Interest Company based in Bures St Mary and provide guided Canadian canoe trips along the River Stour.

A mix of call centre agents and back office staff from Ansaback were joined by staff from Ancora Solutions (sister company to Ansaback 24/7 call centre) for a spot of team building along the beautiful River Stour taking in the sights and guiding their way through the beautiful Suffolk/Essex countryside.

The day consisted of travelling from Sudbury to Wissington by canadian canoe on the navigable section of the Stour which was once used by barges carrying all types of cargo including coal, grain and bricks. We passed through one of the 3 remaining locks on the Stour, Cornard Lock which was very interesting to see in action. There were many weirs along the way which required us to port our canoes and carefully putting back in the river on the other side. A planned stop at the 8 Bells pub in Bures for a ploughman’s lunch was also on the cards with tea and cakes at the finish line which was enough to motivate the team through the sometimes difficult portage points.

The first part of the day was mostly on open river with fantastic views of the fields around. Towards the later part of the day, the river got narrower and required a bit more skill as low branches and high reeds littered the way. A few crashes and some capsized canoes later, the team made it to Wissington for the well earned tea and cake.

Richard Sprately, Head of IT at Ansaback call centre said “The trip had it all. Perfect conditions, stinging nettle crash barriers, we saw the head first canoe entry get perfected by (name omitted to protect pride) and then copied by one of the guides. Not even a dip into the river was able to dampen our spirits. Excellent day out, hard work and very enjoyable, would love to do it again.”

Our telephone answering agents do not always have the opportunity to speak with some of the back office staff at Ansaback so it was nice to have a mix of different departments together and has certainly brought the team closer. Rachel Bedford who is one of our call handling agents said “It really was an excellent day out. It was nice to speak to people I hadn’t really got to speak to before. The first part of the journey probably wasn’t as peaceful as everyone was expecting it to be as every time I went near some stinging nettles I screamed my head off to avoid being stung (which worked!). After getting the hang of steering the canoe it was a lot easier to look at the lovely scenery around us. I would definitely do it again, even if we did get beaten up by the bushes and trees that we crashed into. Thanks everyone for a great experience”

Everyone who went on the trip has said they would love to do it again and we all would certainly recommend it to any company who is looking to do some team building or to just have fun!

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