PULLING TO­GETHER

Friends help set world row­ing record

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Camil­la_Good­man

A GROUP of 80 friends be­came world and Bri­tish record hold­ers while rais­ing money for char­ity at an event to sup­port their friend who has been re-di­ag­nosed with cancer.

The friends set two new Bri­tish 100,000m in­door row­ing records as well as a world record at The Plough in Winch­more Hill, near Amer­sham, on Sun­day, March 20 and raised more than £10,000 for Tar­get Ovar­ian Cancer in the process.

Ben Hobbs, 44, from Winch­more Hill, de­cided to or­gan­ise the event be­cause his friend Gabrielle Har­ris, 46, from Stoke Man­dev­ille, was di­ag­nosed in 2014 with stage three ovar­ian cancer.

Af­ter ex­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy and surgery she was in re­mis­sion, but nine months later in Jan­uary this year the mother-of-two and step­mother-of-two was told it had come back.

Mrs Har­ris said the row­ing event aimed to cel­e­brate life while rais­ing money for Tar­get Ovar­ian Cancer.

The event saw two teams of 40 row­ers com­pris­ing friends and fam­ily, aged 40 to 49 and 50 to 59 who were aim­ing to set the Bri­tish records for large mixed teams row­ing 100,000m on Con­cept 2 row­ing ma­chines.

How­ever, they went one bet­ter with the 40 to 49-year-old team set­ting a new world record while the 50 to 59-year-old team set a new Bri­tish record.

The event also had a sweet shop and a name the teddy bear raf­fle to help boost funds for the char­ity.

Mr Hobbs said: “The event was ab­so­lutely won­der­ful, it was an amaz­ing day and about 200 peo­ple turned up to sup­port us through­out the day.”

Mrs Har­ris, who rowed the last 500m for the 40 to 49 team, said: “It’s my first time be­ing a record holder! The event ex­ceeded all our ex­pec­ta­tions. It was a real fam­ily event with a won­der­ful at­mos­phere.

“The day was all about liv­ing and be­ing alive and happy and vi­brant.

“It was a great day that in­volved so many peo­ple and the event meant ev­ery­one could take part, those who were ath­letic did more while those who were not did less.

“Tar­get Ovar­ian Cancer is ab­so­lutely over the moon with the amount we raised, and we’re hop­ing to or­gan­ise an­other event to raise even more.”

Mrs Har­ris said it was a shock when she dis­cov­ered her cancer had re­turned.

She added: “There was an 80 per cent chance it would come back, so it was not a mas­sive shock but it was all in one. I’d hoped if it did come back I’d have slightly longer than nine months cancer free.

“So now it’s back to chemo and I’m mak­ing big changes to my life­style. I’m re­ally go­ing for it and I’m go­ing to tackle it head on.

“I’m try­ing to fo­cus on all the pos­i­tives of hav­ing cancer. There’s some amaz­ing things com­ing out of it and I’ve now started to do mo­ti­va­tional talks in the area about what it has been like to cope with and the many ways it has made my life bet­ter.”

To spon­sor Team Gabrielle visit www. just­giv­ing.com/ TeamGabrielle.

To read Mrs Har­ris’ blog visit http:// gabrielle­har­ris­blog. blogspot.co.uk.

It’s my first time be­ing a record holder!

Pulling power: An­nie Dun­ster at the helm (above), Selina Carlto-Crisp, left, gives it her all and, be­low, Dan Jack­son in full flow.

A toast: Gabrielle Har­ris and Ben Hobbs raise a cof­fee cup to the ef­forts of the teams

Still smil­ing: David Adams dur­ing the record break­ing ef­fort and Jo Hardy

We can do it: The team cheers on David Steed­man and, in­set, Gabrielle with ac­tress Judy Parfitt, well known as Sis­ter Mon­ica Jones from Call the Mid­wife

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