Paralympian Naomi Riches staged a 24-hour rehearsal for her Thames row challenge from the comfort of her workplace last week – but it admitted it was dull compared to being out on the river.

Naomi, who brought back gold after London’s 2012 Paralympics, set up a rowing machine in the Thomas International offices on Oxford Road ready for a day long row Friday, August 12, ahead of the Great Thames Row next month.

She rowed strictly to the schedule drawn up for the mammoth rowing mission, which will see her attempt to become the fastest woman to row 165 miles along the Thames on Saturday, September 17.

And in a show of moral support 51 of her colleagues took part, taking it in turns to row on a second machine over the 24 –hours, which Naomi said “kept me sane”.

She said: “I am feeling good. Doing that was really helpful because it was really tough. The rowing machine was difficult because I was looking at the same door for 24 hours which was mind bogglingly dull.

“That was why I asked them all to keep me company – that kept me sane because I had people coming in and talking to me.

“It is hard to say how I am feeling because there is so many things I can’t control. I have the right people in the right places and a lot of people are putting so much energy in to it.

“I feel confident in my team of volunteers, my fear is things I can’t control, the water, the weather, by boat being damaged but I am growing in confidence every day.”

Their efforts raised £1,300 for IN Vision – a charity dedication to researching eye condition Infantile Nystagmus – which Naomi was diagnosed with at just two months old.

And Naomi hopes the 165 mile Thames Row will raise £165,000 for the cause - £1,000 for each mile, and is encouraging companies to sponsor a leg of the journey.

She added: “Thank you to Thomas. When it comes to working together these guys are awesome.”

Thomas International has also agreed to foot the bill for the cost of Naomi’s kit on the day – which will add up to around £1500.

To sponsor a mile and find out more about Naomi’s challenge visit