Whalley team in cross-Channel boat race for Help For Heroes

Phil Moss, Edward Snowden,Philip Goldsmith, Will Smith
Phil Moss, Edward Snowden,Philip Goldsmith, Will Smith

Super-fit fund-raisers are counting down to their great cross-Channel challenge – and they’ve got a new watch to tick off the hours and minutes.

They will set off from London in an open boat on May 4th to race another team across the English Channel and up the Seine to Paris in aid of the Help For Heroes charity for wounded service personnel.

Finishing line: The Eiffel Tower

Finishing line: The Eiffel Tower

And as the team based at Oakhill Academy, Whalley, put the finishing touches to their preparations, Longridge jeweller Philip Goldsmith donated a £300 Citizen Eco-drive watch to help boost the fund-raising efforts, which will continue after the race.

Mr Goldsmith is a family friend of team member Will Smith, who works as a trainer at Oakhill Academy, and invited the team to his shop in Towneley Parade, Berry Lane, to collect the watch and chat about the forthcoming challenge, which is dubbed the “Real Boat Race.”

He said: “I’ve known Will’s family for years, so when I learned what the team were doing for charity I wanted to support them.”

The Oakhill team, all from the Ribble Valley, are: captain Phil Moss, Will Smith, Edward Snowden, Alex Trickett, Suzanne Liddle and Simon Heptonstall. They make up half of a 12-person crew, along with others from all over the country, including ex-servicemen.

They have been in training for months on rowing machines and at sea, and last weekend were in Ramsgate for a final 24-hour open water session.

They have raised £27,000 so far, and are aiming for £50,000. The donated watch will either be used as a raffle prize or be auctioned at a fund-raising black-tie dinner at Angels restaurant, Ribchester, on June 7th.

The team’s donation site is www.justgiving.com/teams/therealboatrace and contains links to the team’s individual pages.