Published date: 13 September 2021

Frontline Teams Raise Thousands for Charity in Rowing Challenge

Our frontline colleagues in the North West have completed a stationary rowing challenge in Preston, raising £2,263 for youth cancer charity Young Lives vs. Cancer.

The team were joined by a very special guest - Olympic Rower and Preston resident Graeme Thomas. The Team GB rower returned from the Tokyo Olympics just in time to coach the team on to glory as they completed a grueling 21-miles – the length of the Channel.

Team Leader Sarah Trowbridge said that the event raised much needed funds to support the fight against childhood cancer, with all funds raised on the day funding the charities Homes from Home initiative which provides comfortable accommodation for families close to cancer treatment centres, ensuring that families can stay together during treatment.

“These homes from home are a lifeline for many families with young children going through treatment. It is such a difficult and turbulent time for all affected, being able to make this journey that little bit more comfortable is huge! And knowing that by partnering up with them and helping fundraise to contribute to them getting better is amazing. Not all the stories end how we would like them too, but knowing that you help contribute to a child and their family having that little bit of comfort and normality in their lives whilst going through this is just something you probably can’t quantify.”

What started as part of a brainstorm idea at a monthly meeting quickly turned into reality – with 46 NHS colleagues signing up to take part. The team includes receptionists, maintenance technicians. facilities managers and coordinators and more.  For Sarah, training has had its ups and downs:

“Some of us are naturally fit and lead more active lifestyles – and are keen gym members, while others are doing their best to build up their stamina in the lead up to the race so that it’s not a complete shock. The remainder (I probably fall into this category) are just hoping to turn up on the day and let the adrenaline take us through our portion of the race!”

Colleague Colin Mayor has added rowing to his regular crossfit routine, while Amy Jackson challenged herself to run 50 miles during August as part of her training – with every mile adding to the fundraising pot for Young Lives vs. Cancer.

This past Thursday, their training paid off as colleagues took it in turns to rack up the miles on rowers in the Preston Healthport Carpark.  Sarah says: “Rowing is such a tough sport, people train for months and months just to be “okay” at it! We wanted it to be open to everyone, so doing it this way and sharing the load was the best way we could involve as many people as possible, giving everyone the chance to have fun and take part and raise money for such an amazing cause!

Now that the team have rowed the length of the Straight of Dover, is there any chance that they’ll take on the real thing? “I would love to be able to achieve something like that one day! What an accolade that would be. We are just a group of normal people doing our bit for a charity that needs support. Organising this has been fun to be honest and seeing how eager everyone was to want to take part was really heart-warming!”

You can support the team by donating to their Just Giving page.