ROWING the River Thames is no easy feat but a team of Swindon businessmen are preparing to do just that - travelling 124 miles in three days.

Swindon Business Cares for Children chairman Alan Fletcher and his team of eight from will celebrate their 25th year of fundraising for the NSPCC in Swindon with the marathon row which will see them on the water for 12 hours a day.

Mr Fletcher will be rowing alongside Peter Mapson, John Jefferies, Michael Shirley, Hugh Ellins, Paul Fletcher, Sowande Coker and Warren Nienaber for the journey from Lechlade to Teddington.

Peter, 68 said: "Out of all the things we've done to support the NSPCC over the last 25 years, the Thames row was what we enjoyed the most, so we decided to do it again.

"Everyone is keen to get going and we shall have a lot of fun, though it will be a huge challenge to do it in half our original time, especially at my age.

"We've done a few practice rows and it's starting to feel like it's paying off, we're quite pleased with ourselves at how the training is going.

"It will be quite tricky getting a big Oxbridge-type boat through 43 locks and it will be busy on the water as it's a bank holiday weekend but I'm sure we'll manage.

"It's a very personal thing for us because we've all become firm friends and the people of Swindon always get behind what we're doing because they can see exactly where the money's going and helping people in the town.

"If we weren't doing things like this, the NSPCC's Swindon centre would not be here, it's such a good cause and the team there are amazing.

"Not all of the original eight could take part this time around so we got our son-in-laws to join us. We're getting a bit old so this feels like handing over to the next generation who will take up the baton and keep fundraising in the years to come."

The group was founded in 1992 when it helped raise enough money for the NSPCC to purchase and equip its first centre on Victoria Road. The original Thames challenge in 2005 raised more than £17,000.

Throughout 2019, the group will be raising money for the Swindon service centre with an overall target of £25,000. They have already raised £4,000 towards the total through other events.

The challenge will begin on Saturday August 24 and is sponsored by Bevirs Law.

To donate, visit