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For the 25th time, national charity RALPHH has made possible defibrillator availability at a key amateur sporting venue.

Recipient of the latest gift of a potentially life-saving machine is Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club, which has its base on the bank of the River Medway, just outside the town centre. Formed in 1984 in what was previously a Royal Engineers Barracks, the Club has 160 members who range from age 11 to those in their 80’s. Maidstone Invicta is also involved in encouraging more young people to take up the sport, which includes a link with nearby Oakwood Park School. In 2023 an eight from the Club qualified for Henley Royal Regatta, with success also achieved in various time-trial Head races.

Two local Head races on the adjoining stretch of the Medway draw competitors across South East London and Kent. There is also the intention to organise three “return to row” classes in 2024, aimed at those over 40 who want to renew or have the first experience of rowing as part of a crew.

The charity RALPHH was formed in memory of Robert Allen, who was a National Schools’ Rowing Champion and coach. He died unexpectedly of a previously unrecognised heart condition. Family and friends decided to establish RALPHH (Robert Allen Life Promotion and Healthy Hearts Trust) in his memory, since when the charity has been active in sports such as hockey, rugby and sailing, but with rowing schools and clubs being the largest group of recipients of defibrillation gifts.

Presentation of the defibrillator was made by RALPHH Chairman Richard Allen to Anne Salmon, Vice-President and Membership Secretary of Maidstone Invicta. Also included in the picture, left to right are: Robin Chapman, Oliver Barton, Vice-President Harry Salmon and Richard Huggins.  

“Rowing is a great sport,” said Richard Allen, “and important that more people have the chance to participate and enjoy the special camaraderie. But – just like many other sports – the unexpected can happen and it is right that the proper equipment is available should someone have a heart or circulatory problem either on the water or in the gym.”


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