The Row to Eton
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The 2010 Row
to Henley raised
£97,000

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by Iain Howie

FORMER DOUNE MAN
HELPS CHARITY

Stirling Observer

   

A former Doune resident with Alzheimer’s has helped raise a whopping amount of money for charity by boating on the River Thames.

   

Jamie Graham, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s three years ago, rowed 22 miles from Eton to Henley on July 2, with a crew of veteran oarsmen, to give a tremendous £70,000 boost to the Alzheimer’s Research UK – the largest amount ever raised in a single sporting event for the charity.

An additional donation was also made to Swindon dementia support group, the Forget-me-not-Centre, which encouraged Jamie to keep active and pursue plans for the challenge.

   

The Observer previously reported that Jamie (62) a former member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment during the 1960s, was preparing for the challenge, aiming to raise as much money as possible.

   

He had moved to Wiltshire and was preparing for retirement when he was given the diagnosis. Since then he has had to give up driving and lost the ability to use a computer, read or write. Despite all this, his sense of humour remains intact and he still rides his bike, enjoys going for long walks and playing tennis.

   

Jamie said: “It was a momentous day and we’re absolutely thrilled at the amount we’ve raised and to know that it will fund an incredible 700 days of world-class research into Alzheimer’s disease.

   

“It’s been the result of real team work and the generosity and support of many, many wonderful people. The Forget-me-not Centre has inspired me to keep active and my family and friends have been so encouraging, putting all the plans for this venture in place and showing enduring patience.

   

“My 15 fellow oarsmen took it in shifts to row and our masterly cox, Martin Fitzgerald, stayed with me throughout the challenge. He calmly navigated us through seven locks and ensured there were no collisions with the regatta boats racing on the day and the hundreds of pleasure craft on the river.”

   

Jamie was joined in the crew by his eldest brother Colin, who lives at the family home near Doune, as was son, Magnus, another ex-Argyll serviceman. Colin also added a wonderful final touch by piping us in with bagpipes as the boat came in to Henley.

   

“I’ve been a keen oarsman since my school days and, thankfully, it’s an activity I can still take part in. I’m so pleased I’ve been able to use it positively to raise much needed money for dementia research. Since my diagnosis I’ve been saddened to find that investment into this dreadful disease has been woefully neglected.”

Anyone wishing to add to Jamie’s fundraising efforts and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Research UK can still do so … Online or by Cheque.