A team of doctors and nurses from Southampton Children’s Hospital are set to row from Jersey to Southampton to raise funds for the city’s children’s emergency and trauma department appeal.
The crew of 12 will undertake the 200km challenge – which has never been attempted before and is expected to take 24 hours – across the English Channel next month (8 June) and will set a new record once completed.
Known as J2S, it has been described as “epic” by five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave and backed by double Olympic champion James Cracknell.
The row, which is being led by children’s hospital director Dr Jason Barling, will follow on from last year’s 350-mile cycle event Tour de Wessex, which saw the team take in stops at all major trauma referral units across the region.
This will complete the team’s target to cover the geographical area – Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, Berkshire, West Sussex, the Channel Islands and Oxfordshire – that the specialist department will serve.
The state-of-the-art £5.1 million facility, which will see more than 30,000 youngsters every year, will include an eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and soundproof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.
To fund the project, Southampton Hospital Charity has partnered with The Murray Parish Trust (TMPT), a charity formed by actress Sarah Parish and her actor husband James Murray in memory of their late daughter Ella-Jayne, to raise £2 million.
This will be matched by the government once the total is met and a further £1.1 million allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
“Congratulations to all the doctors and nurses taking part in this epic row from Jersey to Southampton to raise money for the new children’s emergency and trauma department. What an amazing thing they are all doing, good luck and well done – they all deserve gold medals,” said Sir Steve.
James added: “I’d like to join Steve in wishing team J2S the very best of luck in this mammoth challenge. Even by pro-rowing standards this is no mean feat so these amateur rowers are taking on a task of Herculean proportions.
“What better motivation than the children’s ED appeal to get them through – I look forward to following their journey and am sure they will inspire many people to support their endeavour through donations to this very worthwhile cause.”
Dr Barling said: “Team J2S have been training tirelessly for this event with the support of Langstone Rowing Club who have supplied the boat and crucial training tips to help us take on this extreme endurance challenge.
“We are hoping to raise at least £20,000 towards the appeal and what better incentive than knowing we are inching closer to the final target while battling through the elements and fatigue.”
As well as support from Langstone Rowing Club, the team has received corporate backing from Bradbeers, Ocorian, Southampton Shipowners’ Association, Drive Personnel Transport & Logistics Specialists, and Condor Ferries – but are urging other local and national businesses to get behind the event.
Suzie Simmons, head of fundraising at Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “Not only are our clinicians saving lives in our hospital every day, they are also taking on this gruelling challenge to raise money to improve our facilities for young patients and that is truly remarkable.
“We now want to push for as many people as possible – the community, businesses and other organisations – to show their support for the team by donating whatever they can in recognition of these efforts and help us raise the final £900,000 to complete this development by next year.”
The team are currently looking for more corporate sponsorship with various packages available. To find out more contact Southampton Hospital Charity on 023 8120 8881 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a donation to the team, visit https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/J2SROW2018 or make a donation by texting ROWJ55 £5 (or any amount) to 70070.