A group of housewives have raised more than £30,000 for charity by rowing the English Channel.
Known as the Channel No 7 Rowing Team, Julie Palin, Rachel Oldroyd, Jane Chubb, Helen Hellewell, Jill Woodings and Diane Hunter from Wakefield, plus Verene Farrell and Linda Jackson from Barnsley, completed the oar-some feat last Wednesday.
But their plans were almost scuppered by bad weather, which delayed the row by two days, and a ban on human-powered vessels entering French waters which the French Coastguard put in place two weeks before the event.
Julie Palin, who came up with the idea, said: “Other events were cancelled, but we decided to go as far as we could despite facing a custodial sentence, being fined 15,000 Euros each and having the boat confiscated.
“We rowed into French waters and hung around for a bit, but then had no choice but to turn back. We had to settle for rowing the equivalent distance of the Channel, but we still did it and are so proud of ourselves – and we finished in under eight hours, just like we planned.”
She said the ban aimed to tackle problems with smuggling and immigration and not even the relevant authorities could persuade them to make an exception for the team.
Mrs Palin added: “It was an amazing experience. Rowing against the tide on the way back was so difficult and we were all a little delirious by the last few miles, but we had such a laugh along the way – mainly at the expense of the members of the group who got sea sick.
“All the aches and pains have just about gone now, but it was all worth it. We really can’t thank everyone enough for supporting us.”
The Wakefield Sea Cadets helped with their training.
Money raised will go to the Children’s Heart Foundation and Meningitis UK.
Now the ladies are trying to think up an even bigger and better challenge for next year.
To make a donation visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/channelno7row ingteam