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A social enterprise that uses rowing to encourage motivation and ambition among young people is the latest organisation to receive the gift of a potentially life-saving defibrillator from the charity RALPHH.

Infinity Boat Club is based on the bank of the River Tees in Moat Street, Stockton and hosts young people from currently four local schools who are aged between 13-15. The project started in April 2023 and the students have all been personally selected to benefit.

The project was the brainchild of key supporter Stephen Peel, who was a member of the Cambridge boat crew in the annual Boat Race for three years and who attributes his involvement with rowing to subsequently building a successful career in finance. The aim is to increase participation to some 50 students each late afternoon and the equipment held by the Club would do justice to some major rowing clubs in the country. It comprises 8 singles, 5 doubles and four quad boats, as well as the shell of an eight. There are also 20 Ergo rowing machines in the Clubhouse. Currently coaches Harry Coe and Ciaran Longmore are preparing some of the young people to compete in the British Rowing Indoor Championship, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham.    

“RALPHH is extremely pleased to be supporting this wonderful initiative,” said Richard Allen, Chairman of the national charity. “We all know that the skills in teamworking and other areas gained through rowing are so transferable to numerous other aspects of life. It is our hope that the defibrillator provided will never have to be used, but it represents another important element of health and safety at Infinity which is so evidently on display.”

In planning for the future there is no shortage of ambition.

“We aim to have students from this programme completing in the Olympics in the future”, said Coach Harry Coe. “There is a lot of talent here.”

The Infinity Boat Club locations started life as a sailing centre in 2000.  Today it aims to spur success for rowing – adding to the already strong national reputation of Britian in the sport.

The RALPHH charity was formed in 2019 with the aims of providing assistance to sporting clubs with the opportunity of having defibrillation equipment available; providing cardiac testing; and also, in offering valuable health-saving information in stepping back from strenuous sport. It takes its name from the late Robert Allen who was a National Schools’ Rowing Champion. 

Pictured on the pontoon created by the Club are Emily Morris, Isabel Zadrozny, Scarlett White, Willow Bulmer, Coach Harry Coe, who is holding the donated defibrillator. With the boat are Joseph Woodgate, Samuel Hill, Joseph Hodgers and Coach Ciaran Longmore.


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