ROWING novices defied the odds to row their boat the length of the River Dee.
Up until a few months ago keen fundraiser Anthony Roberts, of Acrefair, had never rowed a boat but he teamed up with fellow novice Julian Griffiths, of Ruabon, to row in a canoe for 78 miles along the River Dee from Bala to the estuary on Deeside.
Despite capsizing on their journey the pair emerged unscathed to reach their destination after two days of solid rowing.
Their efforts have led to more than £1,100 being raised for Hope House Children’s Hospice and Nightingale House Hospice.
Mr Roberts, 51, who works for Dee Valley Water and was previously a work colleague of Mr Griffiths, 57, at Cadbury’s plant in Chirk, said: “I had never rowed at all before we took on this challenge.
“We then started training in about May and we borrowed a canoe. That helped get our feel for the water but you can’t prepare for rowing that distance.”
The pair trained at Trevor, near Llangollen, for their marathon challenge.
Despite having to contend with the river currents and capsizing three times on the first day, the pair got into their stride to complete the course after rowing for 22 hours across the two days.
“I think we have both got good levels of fitness for our age,” said Mr Roberts.
“There was a constant use of our arms when rowing.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but it was enjoyable.”
Mr Roberts said the pair wanted to help the two hospices continue their vital work and saw taking on an unusual challenge as a way of helping raise a high amount of money for them.
“I know what a good service they provide and how they need all the help they can get,” he said.
“Rowing the River Dee was just one of those things that I fancied doing and Julian also said he’d like to do it.
“I’d never heard of anyone doing this before.”
The pair set off from Bala at 5am on the first day, reaching Bangor on Dee at 7pm.
The following day saw them resume at 7am, reaching the end at 5pm.
It was the latest fundraising challenge tackled by Mr Roberts, who is also known as Rondo.
Two years ago he cycled the length of the A5 from Holyhead to London to raise funds for charity.
When he was involved at Cefn United FC, he and his colleagues helped raise thousands of pounds for Hope House.
Mr Roberts and Mr Griffiths were supported by Colin Heyward, Rich Evans and Steve Rose during their rowing challenge and they wanted to thank all who helped with their challenge, including former work colleagues and representatives of numerous businesses and everyone who donated to the cause..