The community of Frome are celebrating breaking a world record for the most people to row 500m on a single indoor rowing machine in a 24hr period. The previous record held by the USA stood at 600 people. On Sunday 3rd June this record was smashed by the people of Frome as 678 rowers aged between 16 and 73 completed the challenge, rowing more than 339,000 metres or 210 miles between them. Rachel Clark and her brothers Daniel and Matthew have been raising money for local causes since 2012 in memory of their mother Shirley Wiggins, who died of leukaemia in 2011. They’ve taken on challenges including cycling from Frome to Land’s End, pulling a fire engine through the streets of Frome and climbing a fire ladder to four-and-a-half times the height of Everest. Following last weekend’s world record attempt, their fundraising total is approaching £25,000. As in previous years, the team chose to support Frome-based cancer counselling charity We Hear You (WHY), who provide free professional counselling to anyone affected by cancer or other life threatening diagnosis across ten locations in Somerset, BANES and Wiltshire. Fundraising and Communications Manager Gemma Wilkes says:
‘WHY would like to say a massive thank you to Rachel and her team for choosing to support us again. As usual, they coupled inspiration with amazing commitment, energy and sheer hard work and managed to galvanise the whole community to get involved. Rachel is insistent that she’s never doing anything like this again, but as WHY is celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, we’re hoping she won’t be able to resist having another amazing idea...maybe once she’s had a bit of sleep!’
Organiser Rachel Clark says ‘The support we’ve had from the local community has been so fantastic: from the people who registered to row, our stewards, witnesses and support team and the many people who appeared seemingly out of nowhere in response to our shout outs when we were in danger of running out of rowers, including in the middle of the night. All that’s left now is to wait for Guinness to look at all the footage and evidence we’ve provided and confirm that we have an official world record, which will take up to eight weeks. Organising a mass participation event is an experience I’ll never forget - and one I never plan to repeat! - but the whole experience has been incredible and I’m so happy and proud that we did it.’
The donation page for the rowathon is still open at www.virginmoneygiving.com/worldrecordrow and people can also donate via text by sending ROWA18 £YOUR DONATION to 70070.