South Tyneside team gets working for Sport Relief

The workers and learners from South Tyneside college.
The workers and learners from South Tyneside college.

College staff and students rowed the English Channel and back for Sport Relief – but barely moved an inch.

Workers and learners at South Tyneside College, in South Shields, also cycled two stages of the Tour de Yorkshire to raise cash for the charity – which helps vulnerable people in both the UK and the world’s poorest countries.

They used two rowing machines and two spin cycles in the college’s foyer to complete their epic seven-and-a-half hour Sportathon quest yesterday.

Lecturers and 19 first and second year sport students began the virtual 41-mile round trip sea crossing between Dover and Calais at 8.30am.

At the same time, they got in gear to pedal the equivalent of 200 miles over two stages of the road race.

The group finished at 4pm by running almost six miles to and from the college’s Westoe campus to the Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre, which it operates, in Wapping Street, South Shields.

At least £600 was raised from sponsorship, sales of official Sport Relief bands and on-site bucket collections – and the final count could be higher.

Alison Maynard, principal of the college’s professional and vocational college, said: “These were tough challenges but the learners and staff came through them very well.

“It is the first time our sports students have done anything for Sport Relief – this year they told us that they really wanted to make a contribution.

“They didn’t do any specific training because rowing and cycling are activities they do as part of their course two or three times a week.

“But they really knuckled down and got through it. It’s a fantastic achievement for a really good cause.”

The students were led by sport lecturers Claire Elliott and Lisa Edwards-Clay.

Participants undertook 15 minute bursts of activity, with overall group progress tracked on maps.

The cycles and rowing machines were opened up for use by other staff and students during a lunch break.

Claire said: “The students knew that Sport Relief was coming up and came up with the idea for this challenge.

“It was originally going to only be a row but it quickly expanded into something bigger and better.

“They put their heads together and also came up with sponsorship and other fundraising activities.

“We are extremely proud of their efforts.”