The annual sponsored row organised by the Hertfordshire Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP) and hosted by the University of Hertfordshire has raised over £1,200 for the ‘Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’. Launched at the start of the day by University Vice Chancellor Quintin McKellar, the event was a wonderful demonstration of the University community coming together in aid of a worthy cause.

Each year, the ‘Rowathon’ is organised to support a charity that is important to a member of HSP staff. Setting themselves an initial distance of 100km, the HSP team, University staff and passing students continued to row until they were required to revise their initial target of 100k up to 160k – the equivalent of 100 miles. The work rate and tenacity on display provoked significant generosity from the University fraternity, with bucket contributions on the day totalling over £150. Two generous rowing contributions were also made by passers-by. The first was from Ela Bryson, a University lecturer who turned up unannounced and proceeded to row a flawless 10k, and the second by Kennedy Mashanda, a student who stepped onto the rower for the first time to support the cause.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to defeating lung cancer, the third most common cancer in the UK. With only a third of people diagnosed surviving the disease for a year or more, the charity was chosen in memory of Bob Short. A former county level rugby player for Lincolnshire with two marathons and several half marathons under his belt, Bob was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer and passed away in 2012, aged 62.

“We are hugely grateful to the University community and all our sponsors for their generosity and support”, said Matt Hughes-Short, Bob’s son and a Project Officer at HSP. Set a financial sponsorship incentive on the day, Matt rowed the farthest for the HSP team, racking up 17 miles or the equivalent of 27km. “To see my HSP colleagues and the remarkable wider community here at the University rowing for a cause so close to my heart was inspiring. The money we have raised can make a significant contribution to research, specialist nurse training and patient support – it was well worth aching the next day!”

Though the event has now completed, donations can still be made on the JustGiving page: