An oarsome event in Oxford – Sunday 6 April

On Sunday 6 April – the day of the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race on the River Thames – Pacific Row hosted their own university (city) challenge, giving Oxford the home advantage and raising funds for charity.

Pictured l-r: Darren Taylor, Allan French (the coach, and the rowing coach at Oxford Brookes University), Simon Tyrrell, Spike Miles and Ben Bishop.

A four-man crew from both the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (OFRS) and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) took part in a charity boat race in the afternoon – in advance of showing the main event live on a large screen in Christ Church College meadow. The teams race each other over a distance of 1km, with the finish line being just short of Folly Bridge, opposite the meadow. Oxford won by a convincing victory. Watch footage.

The event was free for all to watch and enjoy, although donations were gratefully accepted. The event raised funds for the Fire Fighters Charity, the Cure Parkinson’s Trust and Pacific Row . Darren Taylor, half of team Pacific Row, is a firefighter for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue. He rowed for his city in Sunday’s charity boat race along with colleagues from White Watch, Rewley Road Fire station.

This charity race, which it’s hoped may form a permanent fixture in Oxford’s events diary, was supported by OFRS and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). Pre-event publicity was arranged by OCC.

A large outdoor screen, located close to the finish line in Christ Church meadow, showed the charity boat race, which took place at 17:30 and lasted approximately 5 minutes, before displaying the 160th Oxford v Cambridge London Boat Race at 18:00 for the general public to watch.

The event was open to the public, and was publicised through various media. Sadly the weather was not all it could have been – which impacted on turnout, which nonetheless was respectable.

“We can envisage this taking off as an annual ‘must attend’ event for Oxford,” says Darren. “This year it’s firefighters, like me, but it could be any profession – teachers, lawyers, members of the council… “It could grow to have a women’s and youth race – or maybe the one race becomes a mixed gender event,” he concludes.