Student rowers from St George’s, University of London have today launched an epic 140-mile mission down the River Thames to raise charity cash. And they have already made almost £5,000, which will be donated to St George’s Hospital Charity.

The mammoth row will take the team – part of the university’s boat club – from the Cotswolds to Putney over five days from 16-20 August. They are aiming to raise £10,000 for the charity to fund a new ventilator – a machine that helps patients with cardiac problems breath more easily.

 



The team – consisting of two boats with eight rowers in total and two coxes – will set off from Lechlade in Gloucestershire. They will be followed on their way towards Putney by six fellow students collecting money on the banks of the river.

Boat clubs along the route of the Thames Path have offered their support, and will provide safe mooring for the boats overnight.

To prepare for the row – and to raise more money – the rowing club has been holding events on dry land around the local community. They have been spotted on their rowing machines at Putney embankment, at the Merton Savacentre, and at the Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth. On 14 and 15 May, they undertook a 24-hour rowathon in the main entrance of St George’s Hospital, with staff and members of the public cheering them on.

Team member Dean Ella, a medical student, said: “The whole thing started off as an idea for a holiday, but then we thought that if we’re doing it we should try and raise some money for the hospital charity. We train six times a week at the moment so we’ve been working hard to prepare, but it’s going to be really tough. Hopefully local people will come out to support us, and help us raise money for the charity to buy the new machine.”

The St George’s Hospital Charity is based at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is a partner of St George’s, University of London, where the students study.

To sponsor the rowers, make a donation online at justgiving.com/epicrow or text the amount to donate to 70070, followed by ‘SGBC50’, e.g. ‘£10 SGBC50’ to 70070.