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Journalists put their best oars forward for charity gig

A team of Cornish journalists found themselves rowing for their lives – and their self-respect – when they took part in a charity gig race.

Staff from the Cornish Guardian and West Briton joined together in a bid to show off their rowing prowess against other local teams in a race hosted by Newquay Rowing Club.

Putting their best oars forward for the newspapers’ team was Alan Barber, Anna Whitney, Jimmy Shapland, Nick Knight, Hayley Jewels and Graham James, who were led by Cox Colin Mercer.

But they found themselves facing tough opposition from teams from Newquay police and the town’s Green Watch firefighters.

Reporter Anna said: “Although the weather on the day was dismal, with gale force winds and rain, as if by magic it cleared as we carried the gigs down to the water, and stayed dry throughout the race.

“From then on it was a struggle for our team. Apart from our saviour, in the form of the West Briton’s Hayley Jewels, who rows for Sennen, we had no idea which way we were even supposed to sit!”

Setting off from Newquay Harbour, the teams battled their way through the surf, rowing to the first marker and back – a distance of almost a mile.

And despite an impressive show from the firefighters, the police propelled themselves to victory.

Anna said: “Admittedly the police did have a slight advantage over us, with four rowers in their team, whereas in ours there were four people who had never planned to row anywhere in their lives if they could help it.”

The winning police team walked away with the Cornish Guardian Charity Gig Race shield at the event, which raised around £300 for the newspaper’s Centenary Appeal.

Anna said: “It was brilliant fun. There was a lot of swearing going on as we were going at wrong angles and didn’t manage to all row together until very near the end.

“But there was a brilliant atmosphere and we think it’s going to become an annual event.

“I think we are going to need all the practice we can get for next year!”

  • The race is the latest in a succession of fund-raising initiatives to raise £30,000 for a sleep monitor for the Royal Cornall Hospital at Tresliske.

    In the last few months staff from the Cornish Guardian have taken part in the annual sponsored FLEET cycle ride and a local music festival.

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