Innovative fundraiser demands courage

Charity boss raises £1,000 for Sittingbourne-based Mike Campbell Foundation

Kent Online By Ellis Stephenson []

Read all comments | 0

26 April 2019

A charity boss has raised more than £1,000 for a cause aimed at helping people out of poverty in Zimbabwe.

The Mike Campbell Foundation, based in Kent, was set up in 2011 to help champion the rights of people living in the African country.

The organisation was established by Sheppey-born Ben Freeth, Mr Campbell’s son-in-law, to continue the work of the late Zimbabwean commercial farmer and conservationist. The trust was set up and named after Mr Campbell following his death.


Abi Williams during her marathon rowing attempt. Picture: The Mike Campbell Foundation

The new UK operations manager, Abi Williams, embarked on the mammoth challenge of rowing more than 40,000 metres on a rowing machine in Canterbury on Friday, April 12.

The distance is the equivalent of taking on a marathon and it took her three hours and 48 minutes to complete.

She has so far raised at least £1,010 which will be used to help the charity with its work, exceeding her target of £1,000.

Ms Williams, who took up her role in November last year, said: “My challenge was to row 42,195 metres non-stop at my gym on a Concept 2 rower, which is equivalent to running a full marathon.

“The marathon was probably the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “My thanks to my rowing companion, Sean Richards, who rowed this gruelling marathon with me.

“He stayed with me for moral support and kept me going with protein bars and encouragement during the most difficult times when it took great willpower to keep on rowing.

“I am delighted to have completed this for the Mike Campbell Foundation and I thank everybody that donated to this cause.

“I was in a huge amount of pain at 38,000 metres with sore hips and blisters on my hands, despite wearing gloves, but they say it is having a strong mental attitude that gets you through and I got through to 42,195 metres.

“My bit of pain, however, pales into insignificance compared to the people of Zimbabwe, who are struggling to survive under extremely difficult and often dangerous conditions.”

Visit the charity’s JustGiving page to donate.