Three rowers from RWE npower offices in Swindon were amongst the team of eight who crossed the 22 miles of English Channel yesterday in what is believed to be a record time of four hours 26 minutes.
Sarah Ellerton, Steven Kingston and Steve Boughton set off on Monday at 07.30am after being delayed three days due to bad weather. Sarah, explained: “There were high winds causing chop in the Channel and so we couldn’t leave but then, on the fourth day, the wind dropped and the sea calmed. It was foggy but that worked in our favour as we had no visual distractions. When we realised we were making headway we decided to commit and really pushed hard.
"Everyone gave their best, with the first sight of French soil coming when we were only 50 metres away – it was a wonderful experience for an amazing cause.”
Mike Gilbert of Langstone Adventure Rowing, who trained the team and coxed John Bishop’s celebrity team across the Channel for Sport Relief, is delighted with the team’s efforts and result, saying: “They were amazing, considering this was only the second occasion they had rowed together. It was an impressive time and I believe it is a new cross Channel row record.”
The rowers are the first of four npower rowing boats attempting to cross the Channel in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The challenge is being organised by Clare McDougall, npower’s head of community and education. When she was informed of the successful crossing, she was elated, saying: “We are all under no illusions that this is a gruelling event and to have the first boat over safely plus setting what could be a new record, is fantastic. They have set the pace and the rest of us are motivated to match them.”
Each participant has raised a minimum £100 in order to compete and, at the end of the challenge and with the additional help of npower’s £4£ match-funding initiative, it is hoped that at least £6,400 will be donated to MacMillan.
All offers of sponsorship or donations are gratefully received and anyone willing to help should go to www.justgiving.com/MacmillanChannelRow.