A group of Bournemouth students have rowed themselves into the record books.
They demolished the previous record of 6 hours 37 minutes and three seconds, set in 2008, by a whopping one hour and eight minutes.
The boys began their mammoth task at 9.15am and in a relay effort took it in turns to row the total distance – the equivalent of crossing the English Channel three times – on the one indoor rowing machine.
And five hours later, as spectators began to fill the main hall at Harewood to see history in the making, the boys smashed the record with a huge margin.
Principal of Harewood College, David Bromfield, said: “We are incredibly proud of all our rowers who have dedicated a lot of time and effort into breaking this record while continuing to study hard at college.
“As news began to spread that they were about to smash the record the hall began to fill with onlookers and they received a well-deserved rapturous applause when the feat was achieved.”
As well as breaking the record the boys used the challenge to raise funds to help Avonbourne Trust buy its very own, top quality, on the water rowing boat.
This will enable Trust students to compete on an equal footing with the big public schools in major outdoor events, in particular at the National Schools Championships at Henley in May.
Even without their own boat, Harewood students are making real waves in the rowing world.
Ben Chesterman and Dominik Bihari recently beat the entire Eton team in the Henley Sculls competition.
And last year, for the fifth year in a row, a team from Harewood finished on the podium in the National Indoor Rowing Championships, an event which attracts 3,000 competitors from across the country.
Also in 2016 two Harewood teams representing Westover and Bournemouth Rowing Club took top honours in time trial races at the Head of the Stour Regatta in Christchurch.
CEO of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: “This is a phenomenal achievement from our boys whose determination to succeed is reflected in all they do at college.
“Their ambition and aspiration is something we really want to foster and we would love to be able to help put them on a level footing with schools like Eton, by having our own on water boat they can compete in.
“We would love to hear from any businesses interested in helping us to support these incredible young men.”
Avonbourne Trust needs to raise £13,000 to purchase the on-water rowing boat.
The Steve Bernard Foundation has pledged £1,000 towards the cause and said it would contribute a further £2,000 when the Trust reaches £10,000.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the Trust’s appeal for a new rowing boat should contact Paul Sawyer at Harewood College on 01202 398451 or email email@example.com
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