Tomorrow (September 14) a team of seven will row the English Channel for charity.
At least that was what they hoped - until the French scuppered the idea by saying they could only row to the midway point....and must then row back again. The reason was that French rescuers had been called to other charity rowers who had got into trouble, so torpedoed the challenge.
However the stalwart seven - including five from Heathfield, Mayfield and Nutley - still plan to go ahead and will turn back at the 11-mile halfway marker. They hope to raise money for Deptford, London-based charity, The AHOY Centre, which offers sailing and rowing activities for the disadvantaged and at-risk young people, as well as those living with disabilities.
Kevin Bresnahan, at 58, team leader from Cross-in-Hand will be joined by William Colderick, 19 (Nutley;) dad Stewart, 51; Mark Quittendon, 51, (Mayfield;) Clive Kingdon, 51, (Mayfield;) Shahram Sharghy, 28 and Mark Stirling, 50 - both from London.
Kevin said: “We are a good, strong team and we have our youngest member, William on board who has already swum the Channel and has just won a place at Loughborough University.”
Calling themselves Coastbusters, they will set off from Dover beach in a traditional Thames Waterman cutter rowing boat with a cox and a pilot boat in tow. Due to the recent ruling enforced by the French authorities, they will go to the internationally recognised middle point of the Channel where they turn round.
Kevin said: “We were slightly disappointed at what happened, but two boats got into trouble and the French simply got fed up. In a way it will be quite nice to row back to Dover where we can be sure of a welcome. Despite most of us having not even picked up an oar before a few months ago we hope to complete the challenge in just under four and a half hours. Training has been tough but we feel physically and mentally fit enough now to take on this dangerous stretch of water.”
The idea came to former rugby player Kevin at a rugby club lunch in South East London when he first heard about the work of the AHOY centre. He floated the idea past a group of friends and the trip was born. He added: “We did our last 22 mile test row on the Thames in pretty difficult conditions last Sunday and we’re keeping an eye on the forecast. If it’s very bad, we’ll postpone, but do the trip later.” Kevin is a veteran fund raiser, completing the Mont Blanc trek ten years ago in aid of a deaf blind charity. To sponsor the team visit: www.justgiving.com/the-coastbusters2013.