Winners make waves in annual Tyneside row
Competitors were sticking their oar in for the seventh South Shields Marine School Annual Row.
Nine teams battled it out in one of the UK’s most unusual – and toughest – sporting events.
They raced eight nautical miles down the Tyne from Newcastle’s Quayside to the finishing line at the marine school’s Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre at Wapping Street, South Shields.
Launched in 2010, the challenge attracts competitors from across the country, each aiming to tame the river’s choppy waters and claim the winner’s prize – the Marine School Challenge Cup.
The winner was the South Shields Marine School team who competed against South Tyneside College Ladies Team, South Tyneside College General Engineering, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, City of Glasgow College, North East P & I Club, American Bureau of Shipping, Bernhard Schulte Shipping, with HMS Calliope making its debut.
They raced to glory with a time of one hour, 23minutes.
The challenge is the brainchild of Tommy Procter, 68, a former tugmaster and retired marine lecturer at the marine school, which is part of South Tyneside College.
He said: “The race has grown year-on-year and we are all very excited about this year’s biggest ever event.
“It is a tremendously difficult challenge, yet one that inspires all who take part to try their best – and it is also hugely enjoyable.
“Not only do they get a great sense of personal satisfaction, but they are also helping raise money for a good cause.
“I’m very grateful to all those who took part.”
So tough is the challenge that there were two swap-over points for fresh crews take over.
The first was after 3.5 nautical miles and the second a further 3.1 nautical miles downriver, with 1.4 nautical miles left.
For the second year running, the winners and runners-up medals were sponsored by South Shields Ferry, under the aegis of Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive/Nexus.
South Shields Marine School’s chosen charity is Seafarers UK which makes grants to nautical charities that look after the welfare needs of seafarers, ex-seafarers and their dependents. Local companies have donated sponsorship and prizes towards raising money for this event and the charity.
They include Bureua Veritas, Dicksons, Maersk, Minchella & Co, Prichard Gordon Tankships, Safinah, SolarSolve, South Shields Marine School and Sodexo.
Specialist catering provider Sodexo is sponsoring South Shields Marine School’s rowing kit.
Raffle prizes were donated by Mambos Wine and Dine, South Shields Surf School, Lifestyle Fitness, Metro Radio, Barbour, Dominos, Lucozade, Hooray Soft Play, comedian Jason Cook, and South Tyneside College’s hair and beauty department and its 1861 Club.