Archive for the ‘row4sam’ Category

Row4Sam total

Posted by stuff4sam on January 4, 2008

Sorry its taken a long time to announce this but there was a lot of money to count! It gives us great pleasure to announce the stunning grand total raised by the row4Sam in September. The grand total is £4111!

It was no mean feat to train, prepare, resource and do the grand row from Lechlade to Putney. You can read all about the boy’s adventure on the row4sam pages. Big big thanks to them for all their efforts (and their promise of doing something equally hard in 2008!)

So here it is, the next totaliser. This wad of money brings our grand total raised for Sam since December 2005 to £27,338! Blimey!

Totaliser at £27,000

Remember that every penny of the money we raise goes to Sam to buy cool kit to stimulate and help him develop. We hope to have some news soon about the next bit of stuff that has been bought. 

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Four men in a boat – the full story

Posted by stuff4sam on November 2, 2007

Message from the four intrepid adventurers:

Well, we made it, as you have probably seen from the photos! After nearly 100,000 strokes, 135 miles, 47 locks, 35 bananas, 5 pubs, a couple of arguments, one broken oar and some extremely cross swans, we rowed into Putney just as the dusk was gathering on Thursday 29 September, bang on schedule.

Most importantly, due to the generosity of lots of people, we have managed to raise over £3,000 for Sam! We really appreciate everyone’s contributions and messages of support – it is truly humbling. The money will go towards a partial body weight supported treadmill that will help Sam’s leg muscles to develop and get strong.

We set off from Lechlade full of enthusiasm, after a rousing send-off from Sam, Neil, Kazumi, our families and dogs. The Thames at Lechlade is little more than a big stream and for most of the day we saw far more cows and sheep than people. We safely navigated our first lock, watched by a small audience, but didn’t get any points for artistic merit!

Approaching our first stop at Babcock Hythe, the heavens opened and we got our first indication that the ‘waterproof’ roof of the skiff was anything but. We made our way to the Ferryman pub, where we optimistically pitched the tent and prepared the boat for camping. However after a few pints, the landlord kindly took pity on us and offered us a berth for the night. The pub was extremely friendly and we were inundated with donations from complete strangers, which was extremely touching. We had rowed a respectable 22 miles on the first day.

Our second day started off with bright sunshine as we headed on past the dreaming spires of Oxford. Avoiding a near-collision with a tourist steamer in the middle of Oxford (it was in the wrong!) we pressed forward down towards the picturesque town of Abingdon. Nearby we began to look for the Plough Inn, our stop for the night. Then things went a little awry. The Plough was supposedly a short row up a tributary, but in the gathering gloom, we managed to row straight past the mooring for the pub and the next thing we knew, we were in a scene from Apocalypse Now, with my brother on the bow with torch in hand, trying to work out where on earth we were. James had an argument with a bush and the mood amongst the crew was not good! Luckily, we managed to find the pub, where the landlady was celebrating her 60th birthday. Despite having finished dinner for the evening, she very kindly cooked us dinner for the night and we were all set for sleeping under the stars. Alister and I decided to share the boat, with the other two in the tent. The night passed without incident, although in the morning, Alister and I both expressed great astonishment and admiration for our respective wives, after the snoring started to reach several decibels!

Wednesday was our toughest day. At Pangbourne, it bucketed it down with rain and we got absolutely soaked. In the book, Three Men in a Boat, they abandon the trip at this spot and catch the train to London. Tempting as it was, we pressed on, only to snap one of the oars coming out of Caversham Lock. We made it through Reading and stopped at the very pretty village of Sonning, where we found the warmth of a hotel to get some much needed drying out. Alister’s parents had been following us all day with much needed support and words of encouragement and it was great to catch up with them in Sonning, where they very kindly bought us dinner.

We left early the next morning, intent on getting to Windsor by nightfall. We rowed down the famous Henley Regatta course, but we were going against the wind and it was like rowing through treacle. It was more Vanessa Redgrave than Sir Steve Redgrave! From then on it is very picturesque, going through places such as Marlow and Windsor, with the castle looking amazing from the river. We made it to Datchet (31 miles for the day), where we found a delightful B&B run by a Slovakian, and then found a great Italian restaurant for dinner, run by Albanians! We never knew that Datchet was so cosmopolitan!

The final day dawned and we were set for our run into London, a total of 33 miles. The river was becoming very wide now and you could really feel that London was dragging us in – although our limbs were aching with tiredness. We were just rounding the river bend by the magnificent Hampton Court when we heard a holler – it was Toby’s father-in-law, who had come to greet us with a welcome shot of whisky and hot coffee, which was much appreciated.

 Boat in front of Hampton Court

At Teddington Lock, we left the relative safety of the upstream Thames and hit the tidal stretch. It becomes a completely different river with very strong currents and eddies and you really need to have your wits about you. The tide was rushing out as we hit Richmond and you are really able to get up a good head of speed. So much so, that at Barnes bridge, we stopped at the University of London rowing club, as we didn’t want to arrive in Putney before our many supporters (mainly our mothers) arrived.

 Boat at Kingston Bridge

And then sadly it was all over. The floodlights of Fulham football ground came into view and Putney Bridge appeared around the bend of the river.

We are planning to row from Putney to Southend Pier (the official end of the Thames) next year and are also looking to enter the Great River Race. We will return!!

Thanks one and all for all the support – it has been great.

Toby, Edward, Alister and James

Watch this space for the final total announcement soon! s4s

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Four men in a boat make it on to dry land!

Posted by stuff4sam on October 1, 2007

Toby, Edward, James and Alister at the Dukes Head 

We all went down to the Dukes Head, Putney Bridge to welcome Toby, Edward, James and Alister back from their epic five day row from Lechlade in the Cotsworlds to Putney London. Looking quite the pro’s in their Stuff4Sam T-shirts we heard a few of their tales from the trip. They met a lot of people along the way who gave them places to stay as well as donated to Stuff4Sam, well over £100 was collected along the way.  It wasn’t all beer and skittles though as they batttled through rainy and windy weather conditions at the start of last week and were literally rowing against winds forcing them back upstream. 

The boys in their Stuff4Sam shirts

As well as hearing about the trip they the boys are hatching a new plan to row down the remaining part of the Thames some time in the spring, taking them through east London out to Essex.  We’ll keep you posted…

Aside from an eventful trip Saturday was not without adventure itself. The spring tides were out in force and it wasn’t long after parking outside the pub that we noticed the river spill over onto the road and start flooding. One of our friends Chris just managed to move his just in time (he’s always wanted an amphibious vehical) after having had to wade though water to get to it. Others were not so lucky as their cars got flooded and bopped in the water as the pictures below show.

A car parked on a road flooded by the Thames spring tides

So a huge thank you to Toby, Edward, James and Alister for not just the fundraising but also spreading the word. We’ll be posting the final amount raised soon so don’t forget to come back to teh site and check.

The Stuff4Sam crew Chris B, Mod, Henny, Chris X and

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Row progress

Posted by stuff4sam on September 27, 2007

The four men in their boat should soon be nearing the end of their epic journey if their predictions are anything to go by. They said that they would be at Putney at 7pm tonight. We have not heard anything but hope that they are faring well. It must be hard to text with cold blistered fingers. We hope there is a stiff drink waiting for them at the end to warm them up!

Thanks to everyone who has supported them by making a donation to stuff4sam. We’ll be counting everything up and making an annoucement about how much their adventure has raised when they are back on dry land. There’s a strong possibility we’ll have to dust off our old friend the totaliser!

If you haven’t made a donation and plan to do so, what are you waiting for? Its easy via PayPal! Just click on the ‘Make a Donation’ button in the left-hand column!

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Four men set off in their boat

Posted by stuff4sam on September 24, 2007

My old friends ‘four men in a boat’ launched their epic journey down the Thames on Sunday.
The great ‘Four Men in a Boat’ journey has begun! Toby, Kip, Eg and Brig launched out from Lechlade-on-Thames in Gloucestershire early Sunday morning and Sam was there to see them off. They are now making there way effortlessly down the Thames at a frightening speed, flying the ‘Hi Sam’ flag.

Neil and Sam with the four men (but no boat)

Complete with camping gear, lots of food and a copious amout of drink they are spending their nights on the shore and in the boat, and days straining their muscles… all raising money for Sam. As they set sail, we saw them in the distance taking their first evenish strokes and Sam saw them disappear from view. Even though Sam didn’t say very much at the launch, he talked non-stop about it in the car and is now keen on going in the water himself! Please give them a wave if you see them on the Thames over the next week.
We all very much appeciative of them and everyone taking their holiday time to raise money for Sam’s equipment.

Behind the scenes we are investigating some pieces of equipment that would have huge rehabilitation benefits for Sam. The company that produces the FES bicycle are producing an upper body arm cycling FES machine that would be incredibly benefical for Sam’s upper body. There is also a partial body weight supported walking treadmill that would enable Sam’s legs to be propelled by two assitants over a treadmill to simulate walking and produce a natural gait pattern.

Partial body weight supported walking treadmill 

There is even new research into vibrating plates that could be used with Sam’s standing frame to maximise his time in the frame and increase his bone density etc. On a different front we are looking into a bicycle that could have Sam’s wheelchair attached to the front – so it could mean we start entering some cycle races with Hugh! So we are making sure what the best thing would be for Sam so that the money is spent wisely and doing Sam as much benefit as can be.
We are all incredibly thankful that friends and stangers have come to help Sam. Being completely paralysed below the neck and being on a ventilator, his life has health and meaning because of the equipment you have helped provide. We are thankful that more people have come to help Sam than we could ever have expected – and that helps us keep Sam strong.
With our thanks to you all.

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Row 4 Sam: Four men in a boat

Posted by stuff4sam on September 18, 2007

Hi Sam from Four Men in a Boat

A while ago we posted about four men in a boat’s epic row4sam and the date is fast approaching! Neil, Kazumi and Sam are planning to see them off and the Stuff4Sam team will be there at the finishing line to congratulate them all. Here is an update from the guys:

“Thank you to everyone that has pledged sponsorship so far – it is much appreciated. We will post a final total in due course, but it is looking good. We are nearly ready for the off. We will be leaving Lechlade Boatyard, Gloucestershire at 10.30am on Sunday 23 September and are planning to arrive in Putney early evening on Thursday 27 September. It is hoped that Sam will be coming down to the start to send us on our way.

On Saturday 29, we will be in the Dukes Head, Putney Bridge from 1pm onwards toasting the trip! Please do drop in if you are in the area.

Thank you,

Toby, Edward, Alister and James”

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Rowing 4 Sam

Posted by stuff4sam on April 28, 2007

Toby and Edward Roe, Alister Rayner and James Brigden will be rowing down the Thames in September to raise money for Sam. The four, who are friends of Sam’s Dad Neil, will be setting off in a traditional Thames skiff from the source of the Thames, near Lechlade in Gloucestershire and rowing to the start of the Boat Race at Putney Bridge, a distance of approximately 150 miles.

“None of us have any rowing experience apart from the odd jaunt on the Serpentine and so we thought this would be a suitable challenge to take on and raise lots of money for Sam. We are all training in the gym and will be doing some practice rows on the Thames in the next few weeks, with the focus on not colliding with the riverbank or other boats!” said Toby.

The ‘four men in a boat’ will be leaving Lechlade on Sunday 23 September 2007 and aim to complete the journey by Friday 28 September. Updates on the training and the trip will be posted in due course.

You can sponsor them by making a donation via Paypal, just click on the make a donation button on the left. Or you can send a cheque made payable to stuff4sam to PO Box 54662, London, N16 8YG.  Please mention row4sam on your donation so that we can calculate how much the event has raised.

We’ll be keeping you updated about the training and event planning. If you want to wish the boys luck or find out more about what they are doing, contact them at

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