Rower Raises Over £7000 for Parkinson’s UK

Image of Patrick Tolfree

In the May edition of Rowing & Regatta you may have read the article about Patrick Tolfree – the great, great nephew of Chalres Wordsworth, one of the co-founders of the first University Boat Race in 1829 who was due to take part in a sponsored row in Henley-on-Thames in order to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease research. On 10th June Patrick successfully completely this sponsored row and has now raised over £7000 for the Parkinson’s UK.

76-year-old Patrick has had Parkinson’s disease for the 18 years.  As a student at Worcester College, he rowed at Oxford in the 1950s but he hadn’t rowed since. It all started two years ago when the Boat Race Founders’ Society invited him to an event and Patrick had the idea of rowing to stave off the effects of Parkinson’s.  Society Chairman Jack Waterfall made arrangements with the Isle of Ely Rowing Club for Patrick to try rowing at Ely.  After an outing in a double scull last April, he said, “I only wish I had gone back to rowing sooner.”

Following this success, Patrick decided to link his love of rowing with his determination to fight Parkinson’s, and the idea of a sponsored row in Henley took hold.

Recent research has indicated that regular exercise is particularly beneficial in slowing down the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s. Rowing is one of the few sports which exercises all the main muscle groups and is therefore thought to be especially helpful in protecting the nerve cells which are damaged by the disease. 

If you would like to support Patrick and the Parkinson’s UK, please make a donation through his Justgiving page.