NEW YEAR NEWS: Please see the latest Update on this page for the great news that a generous friend is underwriting the last, dwindling gap between the current tally and £10,000.
UPDATE: I am keeping my original Campaign Description here but the good news is that - hooray! - I successfully rowed from Port Meadow in Oxford to Chiswick Slipway in London, as planned. I was the rower, but the voyage would have been impossible without my wife Penny, the Commander of Land Support. Not forgetting my trusty sculling boat, Clementine.
Thanks SO much for all the donations, both from me and the Treehouse team. Thanks also, in addition to those mentioned below, to the Environment Agency's lock-keepers, the Port of London Authority, Molesey Boat Club and everyone else who encouraged me on the voyage. I am keeping the fundraiser open because the Treehouse Project needs to raise plenty more. Meanwhile, if you have the time, the story so far is on the Updates on this page - and thanks very much for your interest.
Here's the story:
Half a century ago, I enjoyed sculling as a schoolboy and last year I took to the river again, wobbling about in a knife-thin single scull for the first time in all those years. My aim was to raise money for Holy Cross Hospital in Haslemere, a brilliant place whose patients include a young cousin of mine who was very seriously hurt in a cycling accident two years ago. As his great friend Tom Hatton put it, 'the lights went out a bit' for all of us; but since then they have started to come back on again. Ever so slowly, but it is happening.
Now Tom and other amazing friends of my cousin plus our large and lively family, are raising money for a woodland walkway at Holy Cross. It's fully explained on the main campaign page and it's such an excellent idea. My small part in helping is to row my faithful touring sculling boat Clementine from Port Meadow in Oxford to Chiswick Slipway, a voyage of a little over 100 miles. I'm going to do this in September but fund-raising is well under way now, and if you can help my morale by sponsoring me in aid of the Treehouse Project, that would be fantastic.
I hope to keep everyone informed about my progress, which started with a very enjoyable capsize test in the heated swimming pool of an Oxford girls' school in May last year, progressed on the micro boating lake at Hinksey Park that Summer and survived last Autumn's tourist traffic and hefty college boats on the Thames. I owe a huge debt to Hinksey Sculling School, the City of Oxford Rowing Club and Glide Boats, the inspired inventors and makers of Clementine.
It's not going to be easy but I think I can do it. Every donation will keep me going and, much more important, bring stimulus and a taste of the great outdoors to patients at Holy Cross. Warmest thanks for taking an interest.