With Covid-19 we took the difficult decision for the first time in 33 years to cancel the GRR 2020. The safety of our competitors, supporters and spectators was our priority and we believe it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, we now find ourselves in the difficult position of surviving until our next scheduled Race in September 2021.
Why We Need Your Help…
As an independent not for profit business we have minimal cash reserves and have lost our small sponsors (only for this year we hope) and grant funding that normally helps us through the year. With the Race cancelled we also now have a year of little to no income but we still have a small core team who plan for and organise the Race year-round. We did not qualify for the Government furlough scheme and do not meet the criteria for many of the funds out there to help businesses in this time of crisis. To date we have been helped by our very supportive landlords and a Small Business Rate Relief Grant in addition to a small Directors loan but having reduced our outgoings to a minimum we are still facing a shortfall to cover ongoing monthly costs to keep the Race going. This crowd funder will help to secure the long-term survival of The GRR.
If you are able to help us you will not only be saving the GRR team but an event that is a loved and valued advocate of traditional rowing. Each year c2500 rowers, of all ages and experience, power upriver along the 21.6 mile course, passing many of London’s iconic sites on their way AND MANY OF YOU KNOW AS YOU HAVE DONE IT! The Thames is truly something to behold from this vantage point!
For some, the opportunity to be crowned the UK Traditional Boat Champions is the ultimate goal. For others, entering the Race is a chance to test their endurance and finish the course or to team build and have fun with friends and colleagues. For many it is an opportunity to raise funds for their teams’ chosen charity, often for causes personally close to their hearts. It is not a condition of entry to the Race but it is an aspect that we have fully supported and we are proud to say that, over the 30 plus years the Race has been going, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised for good causes.
We need your help to save the Race for everyone involved, as sadly without it, there is now the grave prospect that the GRR will not survive.
A Bit More About the GRR…
Back in 1987 a PR man had worked on a charity event, where the Doggett’s Coat and Badge winners from the Company of Waterman and Lightermen rowed their shallop (passenger boat) from Hampton Court to the Tower of London.
The following weekend he thought why isn’t there a regular rowing event on the Thames for traditional rowing boats, surely it could work? He pressed on and the first Race took place in 1988 with 61 crews in various crafts.
33 years later with roughly 330 crews on a fair day with a good wind, the Race has firmly established itself in the rowing calendar, both in the UK and further afield, with crews also coming from Australia, the USA, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Bermuda and Kuwait, to name a few. We have many loyal competitors who come back year on year but we are always happy to welcome newcomers.
The Race has inspired several clubs to set up on the Thames and the legacy is one of popularising Traditional Rowing sport uniting rowers from all over the country and beyond, for one day each year. This all goes to prove that rowing is a thriving community!
So, the survival of the Race is not just for the GRR Team but for our loyal competitors, our tireless band of volunteers and supporters, spectators and also our loyal suppliers that rely on events like ours for their survival too...
So What Can You Do To Help…
We are asking for whatever you can spare, maybe the cost of a pint at the Finish marquee, a few goes for the little ones on the Bouncy Castle, a bus ticket to the Start or a few pints or glasses of wine at the campsite the night before the Race? Please help us come back bigger and stronger in 2021 and for all those persons who donate we will enter you into a prize draw, where we will give Five Free Entries (up to the value of a crew of six people) to next year’s Race on Saturday 25th of September OR for non-competitors we will provide a Free Family Passenger Boat ticket (two adults & two children) to follow the Race afloat.
Thank You to Everyone
We do understand that this is a terribly difficult and uncertain time for everyone. We really appreciate the heartfelt words of support and encouragement you have given us recently when we had to announce the sad decision to cancel the 2020 Race and we know that many of you want to be back with us next year. Thank you for all your support over the years as without you there would not have been a Race. We wish you and all your families and loved ones the best of health throughout this difficult time and hopefully good times ahead are to come for us all.