Thames River Kayak Challenge – Olly’s Future and The Change Foundation

Huge congratulations to our brave team who completed the River Thames Kayak Challenge last Friday, raising over £4,700 for Olly’s Future and The Change Foundation. 

Donations are still gratefully received until Friday, May 12th.

Seven kayaks set off on a route down the River Thames through the heart of London, as Olly’s Future joined forces with The Change Foundation (TCF) in a combined fundraising venture.

£4,700 was raised to be shared equally with TCF, which uses sport to enhance the lives of marginalised young people, including former gang members, refugees and people with a disability.

The day started over coffee at a riverside café where Olly’s Future founder Ann Feloy and TCF’s Elle Rowley explained the aims and purposes of the two charities, with both distributing ‘emergency rations’ of chocolate, water, and orange juice.

Experts from the London Kayak Company, who accompanied the charity paddlers along the river, then took over ensuring all boats were properly fitted out and life jackets in place.

The sun came out just as the paddlers took to the water, on a day that had been largely overcast and even threatened rain.

The boats set off from Greenwich and the flotilla padded under Tower Bridge, past the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, before coming ashore at Battersea, a distance of around 20km and a time of just over three hours.

Ella Jarvest, who worked with Olly for six months at the British Council in Shanghai, China, took part in the river trip.

‘It was a challenge,’ she said. ‘But only the last bit really. The first part was quite easy and fun, but the last five kilometers, I was struggling a bit.’

In the boat with her was Camilla Gash – who explained a very personal recollection of the day.

‘There was a moment when Ella and I took a break, and I looked over to my left,” she said. ‘Looking to my left I saw a building, I don’t know what it was, but it had Chinese characters on the wall, and one of them was the symbol for “six”.

‘Together with Olly we were a group of six in China, that was one of our memories of him and we used the symbol as part of a book we put together with stories about our memories of that time.’

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