More than 100 students and parents from a Marlow school took on a gruelling rowathon last weekend to raise “much-needed” funds for new rowing equipment.

Teams from Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School boat club competed against each other for eight hours on rowing machines at Platt’s Garage, in West Street, completing a total of 1,154km.

Twelve rowing machines were set up in the window of the car showroom for the school's bi-annual fundraiser and participants rowed continuously from dawn until dusk, working in relay in five and 10-minute slots.

Olympians Greg Searle and Jack Beaumont, also a Borlasian alumnus, were also on hand to offer their support.

The school is hoping to raise between £10,000 and £15,000 for new equipment, of which 10 per cent will be donated to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Mr Beaumont said: “As an old Borlasian, I know how hard it is to keep this amazing club going.

“Rowing is such an expensive sport and Borlase does a great job of competing with much better funded top private schools.”

According to Neil Jackson, chairman of Borlase's boat club, a pair of sculling blades - or oars - can cost £600 or £2,400 for a set, while a four-person boat costs at least £18,000.

He said: “We have an incredibly motivated and hardworking squad, with every member dedicating many hours during evenings and on weekends to training and competing. 

“The fact that they turned up on a Sunday at the end of a long school term, is a further testament to their amazing team spirit.”

Tom Wilkinson, director of rowing at Borlase's, said: “As one of only the few state schools nationally to provide rowing as a sport, the SWGBS squad punches well above its weight. 

“With limited resources, we compete against and often beat some of the best funded and equipped schools in the country.”

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