An oar-some charity effort by rowers

The ecstatic fundraising, cross-Channel rowers (back row left to right), Steve Kingston, Chris Harding, Steve Clack, Ryan Hallett, David Armstrong, Steve Boughton. Front, Stefan Smith and Sarah Ellerton. Picture by Lee Rushworth Photography
The ecstatic fundraising, cross-Channel rowers (back row left to right), Steve Kingston, Chris Harding, Steve Clack, Ryan Hallett, David Armstrong, Steve Boughton. Front, Stefan Smith and Sarah Ellerton. Picture by Lee Rushworth Photography

CONSIDERING David Armstrong had never rowed before, he knew he was embarking upon quite a challenge when he signed up to row across the English Channel.

But any lack of experience certainly didn’t deter the game 26-year-old who completed the 22-mile effort and did so a lot faster than he and his team mates expected.

David has always liked to keep fit but knew he was stepping into the unknown when he signed up for the Dover to Calais challenge with his work pals at npower, in Peterlee.

The dad of one, who lives in the Clavering area of Hartlepool, immediately got to work on improving his fitness, both on and off the rowing machine.

And those hours of hard work certainly paid off after David, who was part of a team of eight, completed the distance in an impressive four hours and 26 minutes.

And if the management information analyst needs any more satisfaction, he can check the fundraising total of the team which stands at £1,862.

That money could yet be doubled by npower’s £4£ matchfunding initiative and all will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

After recovering from the gruelling effort on Monday, David said despite the pain it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said David, who lives with his partner Hayley Scott, 26, and their two-year-old daughter Willo Scott-Armstrong.

“To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect.

“I had done about four weeks’ training in the build-up but the team had only rowed together once or twice.”

The team had a sweepstake the night before the challenge where they all predicted their finishing time.

The general consensus was the team would complete the effort in five and a half hours at the very least.

So they were obviously surprised when a member of their support team told them they were operating way faster than that two thirds of the way through the challenge.

“At that point we knew there wasn’t too far to go so we just gave it our absolute all.

“To finish in four hours and 26 minutes was brilliant.”

The fastest crossing of the English Channel by a coxed team of rowers was set in 2005. The team from Dover covered the distance in two hours, 41 minutes and 45 seconds.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the npower team can visit www.justgiving.com/MacmillanChannelRow.