Marlow rowing novice paddles 160 miles in five days

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A Marlow man has rowed 160 miles in five days – through Marlow, Cookham, Maidenhead and Windsor – raising more than £21,000 for five different charities.

Graeme Gordon from Marlow is the master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (WCCAEW) – one of the livery companies of the City of London.

To raise money for charity, he rowed from August 22 to 26 through multiple towns and cities across the UK.

The tricky route also included a 13-mile half-marathon and a 15-mile cross-country bike ride as well as the long row.

The idea started as a joke suggestion, since Graeme had never actually rowed before. However, the level of support for the idea spurred him to go ahead.

He planned to learn to row from May last year but was waylaid by COVID-19 restrictions – meaning he had to begin in October.

Graeme took on the challenge to help charities struggling from reduced fundraising due to the pandemic.

He started out with four charities and ended up adding Marlow RowAbility, which is currently working to make Marlow Rowing Club more accessible.

“I thought, I had to add that, because it’s doing such a good job for people with variable abilities,” said Graeme.

Battling winds and winding waters, Graeme set out from Gloucestershire on Sunday, August 22 and rowed through 45 locks to the Tower of London over the course of five days, from 6.30am to 9pm.

In his support team was gold-medallist Paralympian rower Naomi Riches.

“The non-tidal way was very twisting and windy, so I did end up in the reeds a couple of times,” Graeme said. “I have to thank the support team, without them I’d have ended up grounded or sunk.”

Rowing under Marlow suspension bridge and passed All Saints Church

Graeme progressed through his hometown of Marlow on Tuesday, rowed through Cookham and arrived in Windsor at sunset.

At Boulters Lock, he was greeted with banners of support from residents standing on bridges and banks. Some even rowed or cycled alongside him for part of the route.

“It was right in the middle of the whole (trip), and I’m so pleased it was because it definitely gave me a lift,” Graeme said.

His final day took him from Putney to Tower Bridge, where he was greeted by the Lord Mayor of London.

“I still can’t believe I did it. I remember every single bit of it but it’s yet to sink in,” said Graeme.

“The experience was amazing and absolutely unique.”

The aim is now to reach a £50,000 fundraising target – increased from the original £20,000. With Gift Aid and cheques yet to be cashed, the journey has generated an estimated £30,000 so far.

“That’s £6,000 for each charity, which is just mind-blowing,” said Graeme.

This will help raise funds to upgrade Marlow Rowing Club’s site and make it more accessible to older and less mobile members.

The Source 2 City 2021 funding page can be found at

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