SIMPLY finishing the 8.5-mile Thames row from Chelsea to Greenwich was a tremendous achievement for the Concept crew captained by MD Paul Bulloch with first mate John Henares, sales director.
But better than that, the Concept Vehicle Leasing effort raised nearly £1,740 for the Ahoy Charity that teaches skills to disadvantaged children.
And John added: “The good news is, we didn’t sink!”
With the storm clouds and rain pelting up and down the country it looked a dire day to be rowing up the mighty Thames river, especially with a boat full of amateur – at best – men and women tasked with the gruelling 8.5- mile Meridian Pull Challenge from Chelsea to Greenwich.
John said: “But as we made our way to the start line the heavens decided to shine on our charitable endeavours and the sun came out to lead our way.
“The weather actually turned out so well for us we could only take this as a sign that the fates had deemed us worthy to meet this challenge head on and that nothing could stand in our way of glory!
“But then we started rowing.
“There were 11 boats in total and our starts were staggered with the winning boat determined by time. We were the 10th boat to take off and I must say that our training served us well.
“We matched our strokes to one another and pulled out a great start to the race, although we never managed to pass the boat ahead of us, we were never passed by the boat behind either.
“The pace we set made us optimistic in the first half of the race and a fantastic sense of camaraderie came over our crew.
“I must say that the best part of the actual row has to be down the people in our boat – it was tough going but the banter and laughter that ensued really kept us going. So a massive thank you to our team mates for their commitment and passion to the challenge.
‘Then we hit the wall’
“Just past half way I started to get the ‘fear’, the limbs were starting to ache and the initial adrenalin of being on the Thames had died off. During our training sessions we had only rowed in short lengths at a time, what we faced now was a race of endurance and the ability to push on through the tiredness.
“This is where what we were doing this for really came to the fore – raising money for the Ahoy Charity, so they could give disadvantaged children the skills they would need for their future.
“Then a shout from the shore rang out over the river ‘Row, Row, Row, you can do it!’
“The support we got from families, friends and co-workers was phenomenal. We even had words of encouragement from complete strangers, shouting out to keep us going.
“Some of these words we were grateful for but did hinder our row as they came from passengers on board the Thames ferries, encouraging through they were, they were quickly followed by waves that required careful manoeuvring in order to stay afloat.
“In the end we completed our row in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. In our boat we called that a great success. The good news was we didn’t sink, but the even better news is, we raised a total of £1,739.82 for the Ahoy Charity. Thank you to everyone who donated, we really could not have done it without you.
“The sense of completeness that came with passing the finishing line is something I won’t soon forget. Making the time to support a charity like the Ahoy Centre is a priority that working for Concept Vehicle Leasing makes possible.
“Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed the Ahoy Meridian Pull Challenge, the feeling you get for helping out those in need makes all of the hard work worthwhile. Once again, from Paul and myself, thank you for your support.”