Endurance rowers ready for the off!

It is now little more than a week until some 15 intrepid Hammers take to the River Thames to tackle a 38-mile endurance row.

Their efforts are all in the name of the Thames Ironworks Heritage Trust, a major new charity initiative working flat-out to revive West Ham United's rich shipbuilding history.

The Trust's ambitious plans will see original Ironworks lifeboats, two of which are already back in Hammers hands, restored and then returned to east London's waterways.

To do just that, the Trust is in need of support and lots of it. Enter Andy Cullen, a novice rower and lifelong Hammer, who first dreamed up this mosey down the Thames. So, as the big day looms large, Cullen brings us the very latest from within the camp.


"Rest assured, we've been put through our paces, with a series of gruelling training sessions on the water, under the demanding regime of Southend Rowing Club skipper Gerry White," he told whufc.com.

"Thankfully, most of the hard gym work has been done and the mountain of administration that goes with putting three rowing boats up the Thames and into the Canal system is virtually complete too."

The rowers will be in the water at the Southend Marine Activity Centre at 7.45am on Saturday 2 August and are hopeful of a lively send-off.

He continued: "If you're in the area, please come on down and wave us off. We'll need all the encouragement we can get, so don't be shy!

"The three gigs, each containing five rowers, will also be accompanied by a fully refurbished Thames Ironworks lifeboat, the James Stevens 14 - a poignant reminder of exactly what we're working towards."

As for the route itself, Saturday's endeavours will go something like this. Kicking off at Southend pier, they head up past Canvey Island, past Stanford-le-Hope's new superport, under the Dartford bridge, swerve past the Woolwich ferry and then, to Creekmouth, where the Thames Ironworks were based.

A right turn will then take the crews to Bow Creek, through Bow Locks and finally to within about a quarter-of-a-mile of the new Stadium, no less.

Tides and exhaustion permitting, the crews are expected to reach the finish line on the Lee Navigation canal, by Bar 90* in Hackney Wick, between 4 and 5pm on Saturday afternoon. Anyone and everyone is, of course, more than welcome to come down and support the crews. They look forward to seeing you there!

And even if that's not possible on the day, you can still support this fantastic venture by donating at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/endurancerow.

*Bar 90, Wallis Road, Hackney E9 5LN