Chiswick Lifeboat Crew’s Spectacular Fundraising Weekend

24-hour row-a-thon aims to raise money for charity that saves lives at sea

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Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew members will take up residence in Kingston’s Bentall Centre for 24 hours this month in an attempt to raise funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

The crew, who regularly launch their lifeboats on the River Thames to rescue those in peril, will attempt a 24-hour row-a-thon between Friday 29 and Saturday 30 January.

The crew will be using rowing machines on loan for the weekend and will take it in turns to row continuously for 24 hours.

And giving the crew a helping hand at the start will be special guest, British Olympic gold medal-winning rower, Greg Searle.

Currently training for, and with his sights firmly set on a comeback in the London 2012 Olympics, Greg is happy to lend his support to the lifeboat crews for their fundraising attempt.

The gruelling challenge has been organised to raise money for the RNLI’s SOS Day, the charity’s biggest national fundraising day, on Friday 29 January 2010.

The crew from the lifeboat station hope their efforts will attract people to show their support throughout the adventure, and possibly inspire others to follow suit and organise or take part in a fundraising event for the RNLI.

Martin Blaker Rowe, lifeboat crew member at Chiswick RNLI, explained more, "Last year for SOS day the Chiswick crew and I walked in their full protective kit from Teddington all the way along the Thames to the Tower of London. We figured this year we would try and do something equally unusual, and we came up with this idea of a 24-hour row. However, Rather than do it on the river - where you’re often nothing not that visible to passers by, we decided it would be great to do it in full view of be thousands of people."

Concept2, makers of the world famous brand of rowing machines, are also showing their support and are providing the rowing machines for the weekend. Lifeboat crew members will be dressed once again in full protective kit and will take it in turns to row for 15 minute periods, before the next person takes over. Two machines will be rowed on to make sure that when one stops for a changeover, the next person is in full swing, to keep up an unbroken rowing pace. Altogether, the event will bring together more than 20 lifeboat crew members from both stations.

Martin continued, "We’ll start at midday on SOS day itself – Friday 29 January – and will row through the night to finish at midday on the Saturday. We’re aiming to row the equivalent of the length of the Thames from its source to the sea, a distance of 215 miles."

To sponsor the lifeboat crews for their fundraising, or to find our more about their plans, visit their Just Giving page at

January 19, 2010