24 Hour Row for Heroes

On a fresh summer’s morning in June, volunteers from the Puma Depth Support Hub (PDSH) at RAF Benson began a gruelling 24 hour row in aid of Help for Heroes. The plan was to keep two rowing machines constantly rowing for 24 hours in the Station gymnasium.

Split into a day shift and night shift, the day shift had the task of starting the journey aiming for Paris: 243 miles from RAF Benson. With only five individuals, the day looked exhausting. Cpl Brownhill (the row co-ordinator) and SAC(T) McCance started the first leg of the journey, aiming for 6,000 metres in half an hour. After the first change over they realised the target was achievable after both team members reached this target.

Throughout the day help arrived as the team members struggled to keep up with only 30 minutes rest between each row. Help arrived from Cpl Moorhouse and SAC(T) McKenzie, allowing original team members more time to rest between legs, allowing distances to be maintained around 6,000 metres.

With morale slowly deteriorating and disco classics not helping, Sgt Maclennan showed up with ice lollies that spurred on the final hours. He also volunteered to take up the final leg of the day shift with SAC(T) Banks. The distance achieved from the day shift came in with a huge 184.33 miles in total.

At 2200 hours the night shift started the final twelve hours. With the day shift looking fatigued and ready for a hot bath, they realised the mental and physical requirements needed were above expectations.

SAC(T) Maynard and SAC(T) Hunter were the first to row, knowing that 59 miles was required to reach Paris. With the target of 6,000 metres per 30 minutes this was easily achievable. The night shift showed great endeavour to push the target distance to the maximum possible, with SAC(T) Ellis achieving the greatest distance with a massive 7,395 metres during his leg at 0600.

The final leg was carried out by SAC(T) Snodgrass and SAC(T) Morrison. With maximum effort from all team members, the night shift achieved a monstrous 186.86 miles, resulting in a final distance of 371.2 miles. The team from PDSH rowed not only the distance from RAF Benson to Paris but, as the crow flies, they passed through France, Belgium and Luxembourg, finally coming to rest at Nikolausweiher Lake, Saarbrücken, South-West Germany.

Cpl Brownhill said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the PDSH management for allowing time away from work to carry out this journey. I would also like to thank all the team members for their fantastic efforts throughout the 24 hours, raising a lot more than the target of £500 for Help for Heroes charity. Finally, a special thanks to SAC(T)Dicker, SAC(T) Ellis and SAC(T) Hadland for assistance in organising this unique opportunity to raise money for this worthy cause. It was hard work but it was all worth it!”

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