Rowing erg competition for charity

Great Durham Charity Ergathon for Mind

By Anna Marshall

This Sunday over 200 people took part in a charity ergathon, collectively raising over £9,000 for Mind, the mental health charity, in memory of the Hild Bede College rower George Somerset.

Nineteen teams entered The Great Durham Charity Ergathon, to work in relay to row the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats, with prizes for the fastest team to complete the challenge.

Durham City Boathouse was filled with ergs to pack all nineteen teams in, with refreshments and support provided by volunteers. The winning team were from Collingwood College Boat Club.

Charlie Noel, an organiser of the event as part of Durham College Rowing, spoke to Palatinate halfway through. “It’s going really well so far, we’ve raised almost £10,000. We’ve got a great team of volunteers, who’ve been making sure everyone has everything they need. We couldn’t have run the event without them, but everyone’s showed up, and everyone’s putting the work in, so it’s been really successful so far.

“We’ve got 220 people rowing, I’d say at a max about 250 people are here in total, so even the bar and the kitchen are pretty full. Last year a similar event was organised to raise money for breast cancer, so we’ve carried on the idea and made it our own a little bit. This year it’s for Mind mental health charity”, continued Noel.

Outside the boathouse, many of the rowers were taking the opportunity to catch their breath. “It’s good energy but long and tiring. We’re doing really well and it’s for a great cause. This is the first charity rowing event I’ve done”, said Catherine Roberts, of St Aidan’s College Boat Club.

“I feel like everyone’s taking it at their own pace. People on the one hand want to make it not competitive, because it’s about mental health, but everyone’s still trying their best”, added Anona Galbraith, co-women’s captain of SACBC.

In November, Hild Bede organised a 24-hour ergathon to raise money for a new boat, which they hoped to name after George Somerset, the Hild-Bede rower who passed away last year. Somerset had reportedly wanted to fundraise for Mind, so The Great Durham Charity Ergathon was organised.

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