Rowing for Richard

Last summer, Amelia Goodwin and three friends took to the Thames to raise funds for RoSPA in memory of a friend who had died in an accident. Here, she shares her story in a bid to raise awareness and more funds for a campaign:

Amelia and friends celebrate after completing The Great River Race 2013!

Amelia, pictured in the middle wearing a blue neck scarf, and friends celebrate after completing The Great River Race 2013!

The Hampton Sailing Club decided to raise money for RoSPA in memory of our dear friends Alison and John’s son Richard Hollands, who died in March 2013, aged 32.

We wanted to do something to help after the sad news that Richard had died in an accident. In the words of Alison, Richard’s mother, this is why:

“Our dear son Richard’s untimely death was caused by a fire in his West London flat, which started whilst he was sleeping.

“In memory of Richard, we will be working with RoSPA on a campaign related to the dangers of fire for young people living in flats in London.

“We aim to raise awareness of the need to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as other causes of fires, to help ensure other parents do not suffer in the way that we have.”

Ellen, Jane, Annabel and I rowed The Great River Race, London’s 22-mile river marathon, on 7 September, 2013.

We were in a classic wooden Thames skiff, beautiful, but older and heavier than today’s racing skiffs and with no sliding seats!

It was a spectacular boat race up the River Thames, with over 300 crews from all over the globe. There was every level of competitor, from those who enjoy fun, fancy dress and charity stunts, to serious Olympic-level teams.

And they're off! Amelia and friends put in some hard graft in memory of Richard.

And they’re off! Amelia and friends put in some hard graft in memory of Richard.

The race cannon started at 12.10pm in Greenwich and we hoped to beat our previous time of three hours and 40 minutes, luckily without the rain and thunder from the year before.

Friends cheered us on and we had a lump in our throats as we passed The Rutland Arms, a favourite place of Richard’s at Chiswick Bridge, where we heard a cheer from a large group of Richard’s close friends, including Martin and Katy.

Another emotional moment spurred us on when we arrived at Richmond Bridge soon after 4pm, where John, Alison and their grandson Rex cheered us along for the final stretch.

We were so pleased to beat our previous time by 16 minutes and finished at Ham House in three hours and 24 minutes. I’d like to thank everyone so much for their support, we raised over £1,200 for RoSPA and we couldn’t have done it without everyone getting behind us to cheer us along.

If you would like to support our life-saving campaign with RoSPA, visit our JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/Amelia-Goodwin1.

Amelia Goodwin

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