Local Paddle Boarders raise £1,000 for Charity in Thames River Relay
We had the joy and honour of hosting the first water leg of the Thames River Relay this year. The relay started just outside Kemble to the north of Swindon at the source of the River Thames finishing in London at the Thames Barrier. Starting off at Thames Head the spring that starts the river then a special baton was filled with spring water to be carried down to the sea. First the baton was cycled over to Lechlade by the organisers then the we took on the baton to take it 17Km down the Thames into Oxfordshire and finishing that evening at Radcot.
The Thames River Relay is aimed at promoting engaging people to use the river responsibly and look after the river health as it passes by us. The relay is taking 17 days to reach its destination at the Thames Barrier. For more details on the relay please see their website: http://thamesriverrelay.com/
Stuart and Diana met the two main organisers of the relay last year in a random moment paddling on the river. The usual discussions of where are you paddling to? got the answer of the sea! The girls who did the trek last year then met many other people on route and decided to organise it as a relay event this year! ATBShop got involved and decided to add in a local charity of the Radiotherapy Appeal for the Swindon Hospital for the paddlers in our area to get some sponsorship for the trip. They already run a Stand Up Paddleboard club every Tuesday evening over the summer near Lechlade so got the word out to the local paddlers.
On the luckily sunny Thursday evening there was eighteen paddlers that took over the baton from the cyclists at the Riverside Pub in Lechlade. As they set off at 5.30pm and wanting to avoid the dark they set a cracking pace passing through three locks getting to the Swan Hotel in Radcot in just 2hrs 20mins from the start! Just in time for a celebratory drink at the pub. It wasn’t easy as the boards were heavy and some of the paddlers had luggage as they were traveling and paddling to London so had heavy bags. All of the Paddlers took it in turns to help the riders with their kit so know one was left behind in the group. We had also organised a support crew following in a van just in case anyone felt ill or got into trouble but thankfully they weren’t needed so just took photos and ferried people around before and after the event!
With only one person taking a short accidental swim in the river at the finish and many aching arms and legs the group were really impressed with the speed and success of the trip. The next surprise was the total raised for Charity, we had raised over £690 + gift aid taking the total to nearly £1,000 in a very short time of a couple of weeks. We chose this charity after Diana’s mother became diagnosed with Cancer earlier this year. There is no Radio Therapy unit in Swindon so the sick patients have to travel to either Bath or Oxford at present. This unit won’t be open until 2018 so won’t help her Mother but will help future generations and needs the funding to create it. We are adding this amount to the £93 raised at the ATBShop Sweet 16 event last month.
Starting off at the Riverside Pub in Lechlade to St Johns Lock:
Arriving and through St Johns Lock Lechlade:
Through Buscot Lock:
Past Kelmscott towards Grafton:
Grafton Lock and the Finish at Radcot:
The baton of river water was then passed on to the baton carrier from the next leg to take further on its way to the Thames Barrier. The paddlers from this leg all passed their support onto the future paddlers as the Thames gets wider and busier then the paddle work gets harder.
If you want to know more about Stand Up Paddle Boarding and how you can try it get in touch with us at ATBShop. To sponsor or support the event then check out the event just giving page below: