On Saturday we brought Doris on a little road trip to Marlow to go for a row on the Thames and introduce her to the town. She arrived on Friday evening and with a little help from Ella and the Knill family we got her on the water and over the river to the Compleat Angler hotel who had kindly offered her a safe home for the night.
Sunday morning arrived with sunshine and blue skies. Our beautiful pink Breast Cancer Care gazebo and the rowing machine were installed in Higginson Park and Doris was rowed over to join in the fun. With the strong stream and Doris being so much heavier than my usual rowing boats it was the slowest I’ve ever rowed up this stretch of river but pretty special to be showing off Doris where I learnt to row.
First up was the chance to take some prize winners out for a paddle and the chance to experience life in the aft cabin. Martin was up first followed by Katie and Ewan and all three had a go at rowing the boat. It was great to be able to show some of our supporters what life will be like for us when we are out on the ocean.
For the rest of the day we were inundated with visitors including Suzanne Brown, Mayor of Marlow, the local press and lots of friends, family and supporters. We were also treated to a visit from Olympic and paralympic rowing stars Naomi Riches, Heather Stanning, Katherine Grainger, Beth Rodford and Sarah Winckless. Heather kindly christened Doris with some champagne in an official naming ceremony and then came for a row with us. It was so great to have so much support behind us and we had a really fantastic day talking to so many interested people.
The weekend finished off with a training session at Marlow Rowing Club on Sunday morning followed by the usual logistical fun involved in getting Doris back on the trailer and safely home to Christchurch. The next few weekends will be spent in final preparations and packing before we put her into a shipping container ready to start the journey to San Francisco. Stay posted for updates on next weekend’s capsize drills.
The next Coxless Crew event in Marlow will be a talk kindly sponsored by Court Gardens on Wednesday 11th February. Tickets are £12 and include a buffet provided by Court Gardens and a presentation about the row, the training and preparation so far and the reasons why we are doing it. To book a place contact Rotarian Sara Bowater on 07850 036236 or Sara@sbowater.co.uk.