Patrons: Bill Beaumont, Mark Lawrenson & Tisha Merry Reg Charity No: 512186

Craig rows 1,000km to raise £1,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice

A personal trainer has gone the extra mile in support of his local hospice after rowing the distance between Lands’ End and Scotland’s Loch Lomand to raise funds.

Craig Williams spent more than two hours on an indoor rowing machine every day in May to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice, after his mother-in-law was cared for by the Lostock Hall charity.

The dad-of-two, from Walton-le-Dale, reached his 1,000km target by rowing during the early mornings and evenings at home, and in between working with clients at DW Fitness First in Preston.

“I had to keep at it every day so was getting up at 5.30am some days and rowing at 10pm on others,” the 44-year-old explained. “I compete in the indoor rowing national championships so I do have an affiliation with the sport, but I’m used to doing short intervals at a very fast pace. Rowing for two and half hours completely goes against what I’m used to so it has been a tough challenge.

“It took a lot of planning to fit it all in around work and family commitments, and I didn’t have the opportunity to take my time as I wanted to do it within the month; I was really pushing myself quite hard. I listened to podcasts and audio books, and watched films to keep myself entertained.”

Craig’s mother-in-law, Trish Donaldson, was cared for at St Catherine’s in the summer of 2017 after being diagnosed with peritoneal cancer.

“The care provided was fantastic,” Craig said. “We visit The Mill café in St Catherine’s Park as a family and we enjoy walking around the grounds, and I wanted to do something more to support the hospice.

“I’ve done water rows in the past for charity, so I thought it would be a good idea to try indoor rowing for a long distance – rowing is slower than running, but it’s encouraging to see the miles you’ve covered on the map each day.”

Hayley Jackson, community engagement officer at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “Craig and the staff at DW Fitness First in Preston are really great supporters of our charity and we’re so grateful for the lengths they’re going to for our cause. A team from the gym is taking on our Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride on July 7, and they’re also hosting a Body Pump and Body Combat session in our summer marquee in St Catherine’s Park on July 2 to raise funds for the hospice.

“Craig has taken on this incredible personal challenge which has seen him determined to row between 30k and 50k every single day throughout May, which is a fantastic achievement. He’s raised just over £1,000 for St Catherine’s, which is amazing!

“We simply wouldn’t be able to continue offering our specialist palliative and end-of-life care to local people here at the hospice as well as in people’s own homes without the continued support of people like Craig and his colleagues – we rely on the fantastic fundraising efforts of our communities to generate a staggering £3.8m of our annual £5.6m running costs, so I’d like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to Craig for everything he’s done for us.”