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Sport Relief challenge rowers cover double the distance of the Tidal Thames

A charity Rowathon staged by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and involving dozens of staff from companies working on the Thames, has raised more than £2,000 for Sport Relief.

The fun-filled fund-raiser was held at the PLA’s Royal Terrace Pier in Gravesend on Friday and Saturday last week. Side-by-side rowing machines named Penelope and Centurion (after the PLA’s traditional Thames cutters) were placed on the pier and everyone taking part was encouraged to make a donation before completing 10 minutes of rowing each. The target for the 14-hour challenge was to row 95 miles, the same span as the port authority’s jurisdiction, from Teddington Lock in west London right out to the North Sea.

The rowers combined total over the two days exceeded expectations, reaching a magnificent total of over 200-miles, raising more than £1,000 in the process, which the PLA is matching, pound for pound.

A special guest on the Friday was retired Olympic gold medallist (and four-time World Champion) Andrew Triggs Hodge OBE. Now a programme manager at Tideway, the company behind the construction of the £4.2 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel, Andrew coached colleagues during their rowing ‘slots’.

One of the event organisers, PLA civil engineer Lee Walker, said: “The Rowathon was a brilliant event and we really surprised ourselves with the distance covered. There was a great buzz during the two days, so much so that loads of people asked me if there’ll be another one next year.

“It was especially pleasing to see people who’ve never rowed before having a go. And, while our goal was to have fun, we also raised a total of over £2,000 for a great cause.”

Partner organisations over the two days included: MBNA Thames Clippers, Tideway, Port of Tilbury, Livett’s, London Port Health Authority, Gravesend Rowing Club, Gravesend RNLI, London Youth Rowing and Thames Skills Academy.