The Sheffield University Rowing Club completed a testing Boston Rowing Marathon, just one of the events that has helped them to raise over £350 for Support Dogs.
Many of the rowers have relatives of whom suffer from conditions such as autism and epilepsy and so rely on Support Dogs, a charity that trains assistance dogs for people with various medical conditions.
The Sheffield women’s squad took part in its second Boston Rowing Marathon and was comprised of Emily Stewart (20), Laura Wickens (20) and Banke Ajayi-obe (24), with Isobel Catt (20) as the bowgirl.
The team completed the 50km rowing race from Lincoln to Boston despite a few hiccups along the way.
Emily Stewart, volunteering and inclusion officer at SURC, said: “Our quad had a difficult race, our steering got severely hampered by reeds and weeds getting caught in our rudder and with 15km to go one of our seats broke, so we only had three rowers.
“Despite not having a great finishing time I am extremely proud of everyone’s determination to keep pushing through, it was a true test of mental and physical endurance.”
Aside from the rowing race, nine members of the women’s and men’s teams also competed in the Sheffield 10k running race just a few days after they paddled away in the icy waters. .
Explaining why the club chose Support Dogs as their charity, Emily said: “We really value supporting smaller, local charities. Support Dogs especially benefits such a wide range of people, training dogs specifically for each person who needs them, tailoring the dogs’ skills exactly to peoples’ needs.
“The charity is close to the heart for many of our members.”
The club has a number of other fundraising events planned for the rest of the year.
“We are planning a joint event with the University of Sheffield Men’s Rugby team, again to raise money for support dogs.
“Every year we also complete ‘12 Days of Fundraising’ from the 1st-12th December, where we get involved in everything from ballroom dancing with care home residents to helping with food bank collections.
“This Christmas we hope to raise £6000 for the Children’s Hospital Charity.”
While she admits that it’s easy to feel cut off from the real world while studying at university, Emily hopes that the work of SURC will encourage other students to start fundraising.
“It’s such a valuable thing to get involved in and really opens your eyes to how close we are to people affected by poverty, homelessness and disability.
“Helping to improve people’s lives is a great feeling and can teach you so much about your own strengths.”