The Wokingham Paper

Local builder tackles watery challenge for charity

ARMED with a homemade fishing boat and sleeping bag, a local man tackled the length of the River Thames in the name of charity.

After 11 and a half days on the river, Geoff Anderson from Finchampstead finished his row ahead of schedule. He was met by family and friends on Thursday, September 19 at his Teddington finish line. 

Mr Anderson had challenged himself to row the length of the non-tidal Thames in the name of Horseback UK, a charity that aims to empower service personnel and veterans suffering from life-changing injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

On his 127-mile voyage, Mr Anderson received donations from people he met along the way, with his Just Giving page raising over £3,500.

The Wokingham Paper caught up with Mr Anderson on his penultimate day of the challenge, as he stopped for his morning coffee outside Shepperton Lock, in Surrey. 

“So far the boat hasn’t broken and neither have I,” said Mr Anderson, as he was 116 miles into the trip.

“I have been blessed with beautiful weather, which means I will have finished the row two and a half days ahead of schedule,” he said. 

Rowing on a clunky, homemade wooden fishing boat, Mr Anderson had been sleeping onboard each night with a sleeping bag.

However, he did make some adaptations to his vessel, with the addition of a sliding rowing seat to aid his journey.

Having turned 50 this year, Mr Anderson joked that his mid-life crisis had been channeled into a charitable cause, having been inspired by the work of Horseback UK last year. 

Mr Anderson’s Just Giving page is still live, with donations continuing to roll in.

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