A wonderful write up on the Charity Oars campaign and the support we’re receiving from the likes of Fern Britton and others.
With Olympic medals, World Championship medals and European medals between them, it’s fair to say they’re a rather formidable trio of Team GB Rowers, and now they’ve also just met and signed the Charity Oars, so that’s surely a good sign for Golds all round in Rio….!
It’s always interesting and entertaining chatting with elite athletes like Jonny, George and Will, to listen to their dedication and drive to improve their performance and to maintain the high levels of competition that they thrive on. So as I sat there really wanting another cup of coffee and a snooze (as I told them, I used to play cricket, so snoozing in the club house was always part of the game), I felt a tad guilty as they went through their flexing with an air of normality and ease, and it reminded me of everything my physio has been telling me over the past year “keep doing it Paul or you will pay the price…!” So as I type these few words of thanks to Jonny, George and Will for their time and for their support for the Charity Oars campaign, I will dig out the old spine roller and get back to my stretches, I might miss out the rolling on a cricket ball though, that just looked wrong…!!
So, a cheery salute of thanks to the trio for their time, their support and their kind words of encouragement. You’re now all officially chums of the Charity Oars and we will be supporting you to Gold in 2016…!
Well on Saturday we had the pleasure of meeting double Olympic Gold Medallist and quadruple World Champion and all round decent chap Andrew Triggs Hodge MBE. Now, I’m not saying that 2 Olympic gold medals and 4 World Championship medals isn’t a great accomplishment, but to have “meeting the Charity Oars” on your sporting CV can only be a good thing…!
In all seriousness, it was great for Andrew to spare us his time during the Seniors Championship, as he probably noticed my fitness regime may be somewhat missing, I’d like to put that down to the PE and also the RTC if that’s OK with you dear reader, I did of course regale him with tales of my sporting triumphs, sadly that didn’t take too long…!!
So with Gold in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, then Gold in 2012 in London, Andrew is now on course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. For a full look at Andrews’ rowing accomplishments click here
It was a pleasure to chat with Andrew and to be able to chat about the health and fitness awareness that he and other top athletes are fully aware off these days. So the Charity Oars are signed by yet another Olympic Champion, maybe in 2016 we could get Andrew to sign the Charity Oars v2 and celebrate another Gold….!
It was a pleasure to meet Helen Glover MBE and Zoe Lee at the @Britchamps on Saturday, they both very kindly signed the Charity Oars and had their photo’s taken with them, making the Charity Oars look rather more glamorous than previously in the day …! (see next blog.. lol)
British Rowing and sport in general have 2 amazing ambassadors and role models for females in sport. Their passion for their sport and for those at the beginning of their rowing careers was wonderful to see, in fact I would go as far to say it was inspirational.
At the 2014 European Rowing Championships in Belgrade Helen raced in the women’s pair with her partner from the 2013 season Polly Swann. The duo won gold, resulting in Helen becoming the first woman to hold the Olympic, World and European title at the same time in this event. Helen raced with Heather Stanning at the second World Cup in Aiguebelette, their first international competition together since their Olympic gold in London 2012. They marked their return by storming to victory, winning gold comfortably. They went on to secure another gold at the final World Cup in Lucerne, stamping their authority on this event ahead of the World Championships. For a full look at Helen’s rowing accomplishments click here
Zoe won a fine silver medal at the European Championships in Belgrade, at the second World Cup in Aiguebelette Zoe and the crew raced hard to secure the bronze and went on to repeat this performance at the final World Cup in Lucerne, winning another fine bronze. For a full look at Zoe’s rowing accomplishments click here
We truly appreciate the time both Helen and Zoe spent with us as we’re only too aware of the pressures of being an elite athlete and the need to focus on the task ahead, so we thank you kindly for your time and for your very generous support with our campaign
To finish off what can only be described as a great week (tiring) but great, the Charity Oars headed to The British Championships (seniors) at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham as guests of the Chairman, a very wonderful chap called Jim Harlow.
With all of the sportsmen and women, television and film stars as well as public figures the Charity Oars had met up until now, the one sport that was missing (rather ironically) on a pair of oars were rowers. What better place to go and chat to some elite athletes and to raise awareness of thrombosis than at one of the major competitions in their calender.
With a very warm welcome made to us by our hosts and @BritishRowing we set up home in the athletes rest area. For the first time since we started the Charity Oars campaign, I didn’t feel too out of place sat next to a pair of oars, it turns out, everyone had a pair of oars. True, most of the others were made of carbon fibre and seemed more functional than aesthetically pleasing, but the Charity Oars felt at home.
As the day progressed we met a wealth of Olympic Champions, World Champions, and future stars of the sport. The support that so many of these athletes gave to our campaign was wonderful, also, to have the opportunity to discuss our campaign and the reasons behind it was a great thing.
We also had the chance to talk with Annamarie Phelps, the chairman of British Rowing and it was encouraging that the governing body were proactive in their awareness of blood clots for all athletes. We’re also looking forward to meeting Annamarie and her team at the inaugural British Rowing Indoor Championships which will take place on 8thFebruary 2015 and will be staged at one of the most iconic venues of the London 2012 Olympics – The Olympic Velodrome. To find out more click here.
So from the Charity Oars to the British Championships and British Rowing, a huge thank you for your support and encouragement in our campaign.
On arrival into Edinburgh (with much thanks to East Coast Trains) we headed to the Usher Hall, where Billy Connolly was performing that evening. On the journey up we’d had a couple of emails from Billy’s team in Edinburgh with directions and where to go at the Usher Hall. In a truly comical sceanrio, as I was wondering around looking for the stage door there was a celtic cry “Oy Englishman with the b****y big Charity Oar, you must be Paul..!..?” Apparently, they don’t have too many people walking around Edinburgh with an 8 foot wooden oar, you learn something new every day..!! The warm Edinburgh welcome had come from Peter Lynn the tours production manager. So it was all sorted and the Charity Oars were off to meet Billy Connolly.
Later that evening Billy was on fine form, we had the pleasure of enjoying his touring one-man show titled the “High Horse Tour 2014”, which, is sadly coming to an end in the UK, but we hear he’s about to tour Australia next, so if you’re in Australia, it’s well worth a ticket or two..!
We only got to spend a short time with Billy and of course thank him and his team for all of their help arranging for the Charity oars to be signed and also for the tickets to his sold out show. There may have been a couple of jokes that went over my English head, but his tale of the “scream” his sister made made she went in the house to get her handbag will stay with me for a long time…! Also, not forgetting his now “Indian” routes..!
So when you receive an invitation from Billy Connolly to meet up, maybe have a chat and to have the Charity Oars signed, you leap at the chance. As you may or may not know, Billy suffered a life threatening blood clot, which his wife Pamela Stephenson diagnosed;
“After the prostate operation he developed a life-threatening blood clot on his upper thigh that at first his medical team failed to spot. ‘I knew it was a clot but the doctors weren’t listening to me,’ she says.
‘Eventually I spoke to an intern on the phone, who said, “Just get him to the hospital right away!” I threw him into a taxi; he was in agony and crying with pain as the driver drove up the highway from our home. The road was in a very bad condition, so the taxi was bumping over it, and Billy was saying, “Uh-oh, he drives just like you, Pamsy!” I said, “Billy, I’m saving your life here, stop going on about my driving!” Even though he was going through so much pain, he never stopped being his hilarious, curmudgeonly, adorable self. Fortunately I don’t take it personally; I just think it’s funny that he’d choose that moment to run down my driving.’ (full article click here reproduced courtesy of Mail On-line).
So we started looking at how exactly the Charity Oars could travel to Edinburgh. After recoiling from the cost, we made contact with East Coast Trains, we explained the reason for our travel requirements, who we were meeting, and all about the Charity Oars campaign, shortly afterwards a very welcomed envelope arrived and inside was a ticket to Edinburgh (as well as a return to the south..!)
On Wednesday the 15th October we ventured to Peterborough station (having learnt our lesson after World Thrombosis Day on the 13th October, when we got soaked) we went well prepared. On arrival a very cheery chap welcomed us to East Coast trains, and on arrival of the 09:46 we were duly assisted on-board. As usual the Charity oars proved a popular talking point as well as a photo opportunity for the crew, never one to be bashful the Charity Oars duly obliged and smiled nicely with the crew. Having personally commuted for far too many years into London, the journey “north of the border” proved a rather pleasant experience. The service on-board was wonderful, we reached Newcastle before I’d stopped talking to the crew and fellow passengers.
As we headed even further north, the line runs along the coastline, which looked amazing, albeit a tad chilly..!I spotted a few people enjoying the beaches, true they were wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves, but they looked as if they were having fun. On arrival into Edinburgh, the Charity Oars said their farewells to the crew and we strolled into the Edinburgh streets.
The journey to Edinburgh had been a pleasurable experience, we arrived rested, fed, on-time and having had a wonderfully relaxed journey. So from a new traveller with East Coast Trains, we send a huge big “THANK YOU” to everyone who made it possible for us to meet Billy Connolly in Edinburgh.