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Rowing for the right reason

Date Released: Tue, 13 November 2012 17:00 +0200

TODAY marks the first phase of a daring two-stage plan the whole world is getting involved in. The Rhodes University Rowing Club and similar groups scattered all over South Africa and the world will be doing a 24-hour rowing relay, all in the name of Ubunye, or Team Spirit.

The Ubunye Challenge involves a group of people who have embraced this spirit and raised money for charity through endeavours such as cycling across Britain and swimming the English Channel. This time around their plan is to row across the Atlantic Ocean in record time, and a local Grahamstown charity is one of the two lucky organisations that's going to benefit.

"The founder of Ubunye is Cameron Bellamy, an ex-Rhodes student," said Lucy O'Keefe, director of the Angus Gillis Foundation. "He felt strongly that he would like the funds raised to benefit education in the Eastern Cape. He and his team approached us at the beginning of 2011 to become a charity partner and we were absolutely thrilled to be involved."

Grahamstown local ultra-endurance rower and marine field technician at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Ryan Palmer, was approached by Bellamy and asked if he'd be interested in the Atlantic row.

"It was something that I wanted to do, so it didn't take a lot to convince me that it would be a good idea," Palmer said. "The charity aspect certainly does make it worthwhile, and the charities we're doing it for are doing such great work so that does keep me motivated during the long training sessions."

Palmer will be completing his 24-hour row today in Johannesburg and the Atlantic row is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2014.

By Desiree Schirlinger

Source: Grocott’s Mail