Cambridge fundraiser to become first to walk and row around coastline of Britain
By Siobhan Middleton
A Cambridge fundraiser will become the first to both walk and row around the coastline of Britain.
Christ Howard walked the 11,100 miles around the coast earlier this year for Children in Need and is due to set off on Sunday (June 12) for the 2,000-mile row in support of a cancer charity and research into marine biology.
He will be skipper for the Sealegs team of five men, which is raising money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, which helps fund work at the cancer centre of the London hospital.
Chris said: “I’ve been on plenty of adventures before, so I’m pretty used to the anticipation and the feelings brought on by leaving. I’ve mainly been alone in the past, though. Now there’s four other people, it should be quite a different dynamic, and that’s exciting.
“The team didn’t meet until two months ago, but we’ve been out training on the water every week, we speak every day and we’re constantly making each other laugh. I think one of the main reasons we get along so well is that we’ve all got a common goal of funding research in cancer and a common interest in the oceans around the UK.
“The UK is special as an island and our coastlines are really important. We rely on our seas to live and function as human beings – without protecting them we’ll get ourselves into more trouble than we’re already in.
“Walking around the coast highlighted just how much damage we’ve done to it. Now, by rowing the coast and teaming up with Portsmouth University, I’ll be able to collect samples for research into issues such as marine biodiversity and microplastics. This is really important, as it will give a better picture of what’s going on in our seas and the detrimental effect we’re having on them.
“As a team, we decided to fundraise for a cancer charity because the condition impacts everyone. The specific area we’re raising money for, research into multiple myeloma cancer, is personally important to me because it’s the cancer my grandfather died of.”
Chris - who was known as Chris the Coast Walker on his earlier adventure - believes the challenge will make him the first to complete the journey around the coastline by walking and rowing.
“We’ve done lots of training. Two weeks ago, I did a 24-hour non-stop row on a rowing machine to raise money for a children’s charity for Ukraine,” he said.
“I’ve got three young daughters, and the main aim of my fundraising efforts is to inspire them to live a helpful life and let them know that they can do anything they want to do.”
Chris’ journey as part of the ‘Sealegs’ team will begin at Tower Bridge in London. They will then row through the Thames and into the Thames Estuary, before heading south towards Dover. After travelling across to Land’s End, they will row northwards towards Cape Wrath in Scotland and east to John o’ Groats, before heading south to the Thames and returning home.
Amy Mullins, head of community fundraising at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, said: “We are so grateful to Chris, Emma, Sophie, Lamin and Jason for taking on this epic feat of endurance in support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and we wish them the very best of luck.
“Their generous support will help to accelerate the translation of world-leading research into breakthroughs in the treatment and care of cancer patients, not only at The Royal Marsden but worldwide.”