We were proud to finish the Meridian Pull challenge – and raise money for AHOY.
On the 6th August, 10 boats set off from Chelsea Harbour for Greenwich. Nine of them were rowed by businesses from around the Docks!
It was a bright, sunny day with friends, family and safety boats on hand to support. Thanks to the Thames’ busy water lanes, the 8.5 nautical mile journey was anything but tranquil. The nine teams showed great motivation to raise money for The AHOY Centre, a charity that uses sailing as an educational tool to help people get on in life.
Clive Ongley started the charity in 2003. Not particularly studious as a child, Clive’s parents were keen sailors who encouraged him to take to the water. He did and found the skills he developed there invaluable while he was creating a successful property career.
When he decided to give something back to the community, it was a natural step to use one of the driving forces behind his life – sailing – to help others. Today, the charity gives youths, disabled people and passionate apprentices the support to realise their ambitions as sailors.
They’re not looking for the next Ben Ainsley. AHOY uses sailing to help people become better communicators, improve their balance or grow in confidence.
Thousands have gone on to make sure-footed steps into all kinds of careers, from working for Thames Clippers to Ernst & Young. A great many still dedicate their time to volunteer at events.
AHOY’s 14 full-time employees look after around 1,000 people each year with the team getting most of their funding through the rowing challenges.
Their first one in 2012 was such a success that they increased the number of events each year and added new routes. As well as the Meridian Pull to Greenwich, they run challenges from Woolwich to Thames Barrier, a special 50km in a day race, and an annual English Channel crossing.
A great finish
None of the participants had rowed on anything trickier than a boating lake before. So passing the finish line was a huge moment. Everyone cheerful with relief to be back on dry land at the AHOY Centre.
Most importantly, the nine boats together raised almost £24,000. Enough to fund one apprentice for a year or about seven young Shipmates.