|RNLI To Hold 'Alternative Boat Race' At Syon Reach|
Hundred of lifeboats involved, finish line near Isleworth
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s first Alternative Boat Race will take place at 3pm this Sunday just up-river from Kew Bridge. The event will pit 250 sponsored model lifeboats against each other and is attempting to help raise funds and awareness for the RNLI charity.
The Alternative Boat Race will start on Syon Reach, adjacent to Syon Park and only a short distance from the official Boat Race finish line in Mortlake. Competitors will then chase down a 1,000m course, which will finish close to the London Apprentice pub in Isleworth. The official BNY Mellon Boat Race starts at 5.55pm on the same day, Sunday 6th April.
The starter for this year's event will be RNLI ambassador and Olympic medallist, Rob Williams. Williams claimed a silver medal in the closest and most exciting race of the Olympic regatta in 2012 and won World Championship gold in 2010. He expressed his pride to be supporting the charity that helped to save his life in 2009: “The RNLI provides an essential service which helps us to conduct our sport, and many other activities, safely.”
Last year, the Lifeboat Institution rescued 67 rowers across the UK and Ireland, and claims that its lifeboat crews have saved over 140,000 lives since its foundation in 1824. The RNLI's volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the British and Irish coasts, involving 237 lifeboat stations and more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The charity is independent of government and therefore depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.
Last week, in support of the Alternative Boat Race, Team GB rowers, including reigning World Champions George Nash and Mo Sbihi, took to the water in the historic William Riley lifeboat, rowing 733 metres from the starting point of the BNY Mellon Boat Race course to honour the 733 emergency call outs on the River Thames last year. The photo gallery from the event can be viewed by clicking here (One such picture is shown above right).
As its name suggests, the Alternative Boat Race offers an exciting rowing event on the day of the Official Boat Race, for people who don't feel a particular allegiance to the Light or Dark Blues of Oxbridge, or just want a different experience on the river this year. As world bronze-medal rower Adam Freeman-Pask commented: “I got involved with the RNLI Alternative Boat Race because I didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge, so the Alternative Boat Race is a great way of having the thrill of being in a boat race on 'Boat Race' day.”
April 4, 2014