Rowers are ready to take on the Thames to help debt charity

FOUR friends are preparing to take on a 36-hour rowing challenge to support a charity which helps people who are in debt.

Andrew Smith, the centre manager for Christians Against Poverty (CAP) based at St Mary’s church in Leamington, charity volunteer Dave Ashworth, church member Jon Lee and Mr Smith’s brother-in-law Stuart James will attempt to row the navigable length of the River Thames on a rowing machine.

None of the team, who are all keen sportsmen, are experienced rowers but they are hoping to cover the 215 miles by taking 30-minute turns starting on Saturday March 31 and finishing on Sunday April 1.

Mr Smith, who has organised the challenge, said: “It all came about because Dave hurt his Achilles tendon a little whole ago and he started rowing to keep his fitness up.

“It is quite a hard thing to prepare for but we are hoping our general fitness and the two months of training will get us through.”

Christian’s Against Poverty has about 160 branches in the UK and 45,000 staff.

The charity was founded in 1996 by John Kirkby, a Christian who turned his life around after being in serious debt, and offers free debt counselling and advice on money management and budgeting.

Mr Smith said: “The service is just completely vital, I’m booked up for the next three months and the work we do is really eye-opening.

“One in nine people in the UK are in serious debt so in Leamington and Warwick that would be about 10,000 people and I can only see about 45 clients each year.

“The Citizens Advice Bureau does a great job but its staff are inundated.

“We can see people in their own homes which is slightly less stressful for them.”

To book an appointment with CAP call the freephone number 0800 328 0006.

For more information about the rowing challenge click here