Members of the public are being urged to welcome home a team of Southampton doctors and nurses as they arrive at Ocean Village following a record-breaking 200km row from Jersey to Southampton.
The gruelling 24-hour event, known as J2S and described as “epic” by five-time Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave, aims to raise £20,000 for the city’s children’s emergency and trauma department appeal.
It follows last year’s 350-mile cycle event Tour de Wessex, which saw the children’s emergency and trauma department team take in stops at all major trauma referral units across the region.
The Jersey to Southampton row, which has never been attempted before and will set a new world record, 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.
“It has taken months of tireless preparation to get us ready to take on this challenge and we are nearly there, which is both exciting and daunting,” said Dr Jason Barling, director of Southampton Children’s Hospital.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout our training and contributed to our fundraising total – which is currently at £16,500 – and we hope people will now give us that extra push and also be there to welcome the team home.”
Double Olympic champion James Cracknell, who last month joined Steve Redgrave in wishing the team well, added: “I’d again like to wish team J2S the very best of luck in this stupidly big challenge – they will enjoy the first half and endure the second. Good luck.”
Team J2S hope to arrive at Harbour Lights Picture House in Ocean Village at 8pm on Saturday (9 June).
To make a donation to the team, visit https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/J2SROW2018 or make a £5 donation by texting ROWJ55 to 70070.