A Fulham rowing club will hold a 7km festive fun run this weekend to raise funds for their outreach work in the community.
Fulham Reach Boat Club’s Festive River Run will start at 9am on Sunday and loop from Riverside Studios by Hammersmith Bridge to Putney Bridge and back again.
The sports development charity is running the event to support their youth, criminal justice and community work, including a scheme to increase state school involvement in rowing and ‘Boats not Bars’, which aims to reduce criminal reoffending rates through sports engagement.
Boatclub CEO Adam Freeman-Pask said: “We are keen to build our community base and provide more offers for the local people to have a relationship with the river, be that on it or by it.
“Hence the Festive Fun River Run is a new opportunity to bring people together and help raise money to help people experience the river.”
He said he wants the club to have an ‘inch wide, mile deep’ impact on the Fulham community.
This the first time the club has run this event which is open to anyone of all abilities and participants are encouraged to wear festive costumes when running, jogging, or walking.
The event has raised £1500 so far, halfway to their £3000 target.
There will be free pre- and post-run refreshments at Riverside Studios, free festive activities for all the family and a fancy dress competition, with prizes for the most festive adult, child, toddler and dog.
Two fundraisers, Joanna Lees and Serena Edwins, will join the route and have already raised over £600 separate to the main fundraiser in the five weeks since they agreed to participate, exceeding their original £200 target.
The friends will complete the route on mobility scooters, accompanied by their two dogs, Daisy, a chihuahua, and Lexi, a Jack Russell.
Lees said: “[The boat club] allows any child from the local community, [and] local schools to have the chance to row and to learn how to row, to participate in a team sport.
“I don’t think that the opportunity to participate should be an opportunity based on your parents’ affluence. I think it should be based on your interest.”
Lees, who enjoys horse riding and sailed before her health took a turn, said a lot of young people have missed out on participating in sports because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just think any sport fosters a confidence and a way of learning to work together but it also fosters a confidence in dealing with people and enjoying working together.
“I just think that that’s an opportunity that everybody should have. It’s as simple as that.”
The pair will decorate their mobility scooters with Christmas decorations and Lees’ chihuahua Daisy will wear a Christmas turkey outfit.
Fulham Reach was established as a charity in 2014, making it one of London’s youngest boat clubs, with the mission of getting people into rowing who would not normally get access to it.
Image Credit: Linda Philipson