Marathon Row for Royal Chester Juniors
The Junior squad aged between 13-16 from Royal Chester Rowing Club rowed 26 miles on the river Dee from Chester to Farndon and back again in quad sculls recently to raise funds for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd and Junior rowing equipment .
The 26 youngsters, some of whom have only been rowing 12 months, assembled at the clubhouse in Dee Lane at 8.30am with their Coaches and were organised into five boats of mixed ages to allow the more experienced and stronger scullers to support the younger ones. This ensured everyone could take part, however it also added to the challenge as the crews had not rowed together before the event.
The first section of the paddle up to Eccleston Ferry is a familiar stretch of river which the Juniors row in training most weekends, the remainder of the route was uncharted territory. The crews had to negotiate the many twists and turns which the stretch of river to Fardon contains, battling narrowing sections with unfamiliar currents, overhanging trees and obstacles along the way.
The juniors were accompanied their Coaches in support launches, one of which went ahead to warn of any danger and clear the route of any potential debris, which the heavy rains of the previous weekend had swept downstream. The Launches also carried extra drinks and snacks to keep the juniors scullers fuelled and hydrated.
After a gruelling row of 13 miles against the stream the crews arrived at their destination and the 26 rowers disembarked for a much-needed stretch, rest, toilet break and re-fuel. Parents had prepared hot pasta, baked potatoes and much needed drinks for the thirsty and weary youngsters.
After a short break and a photo call the crews re-joined their boats and rowed the 13 miles back to Chester, this time with the help of the stream, returning to the welcoming sight of the Royal Chester boat house at 4.15pm. More photographs and then the juniors went home for some much needed T.L.C. The coaches gave the youngsters a day off from their usual midweek training schedule to rest their weary limbs. Parents reported that they slept well on Sunday evening!
Donations are still being collected and the target of £2000 is within reach. Half of the funds will go to The Hospice of the Good Shepherd, a charity providing highly specialised palliative care for people living with advanced critical diseases in the local area. The remaining half of the money raised will be used for Junior rowing equipment which is certainly deserved after their determined efforts.