[R]etired business executive David Thomas has set himself the gruelling challenge of rowing 50km non-stop to raise much-needed funds for a local community sports club.
The 62-year-old from Keswick, who only learned to row four year ago, hopes to raise £5,000 to pay for changing facilities and showers for Lakeland Rowing Club’s junior members at its new Derwentwater site.
The former financial manager and part-time business coach will be balanced on a highly unstable boat, known as a scull, that is little wider than his hips for the marathon effort, which he expects will take more than four hours.
Lakeland RC, which is currently based at Derwent Water Marina, in Portinscale, signed a lease on the new site close to Keswick’s Crow Park earlier this month.
David, who recently qualified as a rowing coach, hit on the idea of a sponsored row as a way to bridge the gap between the £22,000 the club has already raised to fund the move and the £27,000 it needs.
He said: “Lakeland Rowing Club is dedicated to introducing this enjoyable, sociable sport to local people of all ages, and our junior section, made up of around 30 pupils from Keswick and Cockermouth schools, is thriving.
“Our landlords at Derwent Water Marina have been exceptionally kind to us over the years, but we’ve outgrown the space they have to offer, and it’s time for us to move on so we can continue to expand.
“However, without additional funds we can’t pay for the changing and showering facilities that are especially vital for our younger members.”
David will be travelling to Boston in Lincolnshire for the event, which takes place on the River Witham on Sunday 17 September.
He said: “I’m training ten hours a week, five on the water and five on a rowing machine at Keswick Leisure Centre. This morning I completed my longest non-stop stint so far on the lake of four hours and seven minutes.
“The hardest parts, apart from getting up early to train, are coping with the many blisters and callouses on my hands and having to balance on a tiny unpadded wooden seat for so long!”
Anyone who would like to sponsor David can do so here.
Anyone who would like to know more about opportunities at Lakeland RC can visit www.lakelandrowingclub.com or find the club on Facebook – just search for the Lakeland Rowing Club page.