Team FitzRoy rowed for love!

20th May 2016

Team FitzRoy were feeling the love at this year’s Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival.

A team of almost 20 staff from head office and their families took part in the event held at Lakeside, North Harbour in Portsmouth. Their mission was to raise money for Love4Life, FitzRoy’s dating and friendship project for people with disabilities.

They named their boat ‘The FitzRoy Love Boat’, so naturally they headed down to the event in fancy dress with their love theme in mind. ‘The Love Boat’ wasn’t the only vessel on the waters that day rowing for FitzRoy. We also had a team from SSE, who all donned their hard hats and hi-vis jackets for the event.

Jim Apted, Community Fundraising Coordinator, organised and galvanised team FitzRoy. He told us what it was like rowing for love.

“The entire event was brilliantly organised by the Rotary Club of Portsmouth and Portsmouth and Southsea Castle. The whole thing ran as smooth as the harbour lake we were rowing on and the weather was on our side too.

I was absolutely blown away by team FitzRoy! Every member on our boat rowed their heart out over our three races – and we actually won two of them! I have a sneaking suspicion that many members enjoyed the competitiveness of it all, but what really shone through was that everyone was having a brilliant time. We all spent the day looking absolutely ridiculous but grinning from ear to ear.

What made it even more special for us all was to meet some of the people we were there for – the members of Love4Life. It was lovely to hear stories of how they met each other. I met two couples who had found love with the help of FitzRoy’s Fareham based project. Getting the support from Love4Life members made all the difference and drove home just how worthwhile our efforts were. Their encouragement and support was very special, and a particular highlight was introducing them to the fantastic SSE team who were also rowing for us.

A special thank you to everyone at FitzRoy, SSE and Love4Life. Your support throughout was amazing. At the moment we have a running total of over £2,000 raised which is absolutely fantastic! These funds will really make a difference to the lives of the Love4Life members.”

FitzRoy staff had such a brilliant time that they are already planning on entering a boat next year. If you fancy entering a boat for FitzRoy, get in touch with Jim. Email jim.apted@fitzroy.org or call 01730 711 104. If you’re still not convinced, just see what some of the rest of our team said:

“I think it’s fair to say we all had an absolute blast! Turns out we’re a fiercely competitive bunch.

After our first race we saw some of the people from the Love4Life project cheering us on which was an amazing feeling. It led us all to start chanting “Love4Life” across the lake to them whilst waving our oars excitedly and dangerously in the air.

For the final showdown, we all hooked up our rhythm and dug deep for a gruelling neck and neck competition against a boat full of men who were ‘regular’ dragon boat racers… we pipped them at the post to take the victory and managed our fastest race of the day, ending on a high! We were a great team that day and I think we’re all still buzzing from it!”

Gillian Pleasance, HR Business Partner (and team captain!)

“I have not stopped grinning since Sunday’s Dragon Boat Race. The feeling of being part of a team and to achieve as much as we did was awesome. I was terrified of the idea of the boats before we started but I have to say it was one of the best things I have done, and for such a fantastic charity. I loved every minute of it and would take part again in a heartbeat.”

Natalie Gosden, Senior Administrator