The row began at 7.30 am. on Wednesday, 1st June 2011 from Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames. Crew members were rotated at boathouses en route, followed by a support boat and shore party of doctor Roz Graham, Jonathan Seddon-Brown, Lavinia Gordon and Bex Howard carrying medical supplies. Thanks go to Christopher Blount, who attended at locks and changeovers, and all the lockkeepers who opened the lock gates so swiftly on our arrival.
Joanna Rogers, rowing at number 2 strokeside, had arranged for Jamie to be filmed throughout the day by cameramen Tim Hunt and Adrian Pinsent, as part of her Ascendent Films production, edited by Richard Graham and narrated by Dan Stevens. Tim Simon transported the film crew in a launch supplied by Hobbs Boatyard.
Jamie's Starting VIII rowed to Jim and Maureen Cleary's landing at Hambleden, where a second stage crew took over to row the 10 kilometres, through Hambleden, Hurley and Temple Locks, to Marlow Rowing Club, Ed Philips allowing us facilities again this year.
Followers, who took a 10 am. breakfast at the Compleat Angler in Marlow, had a fine view of the third stage crew on its way to Marlow, Cookham and Boulters Locks, a distance of 12 kilometres.
Boulters Lock, half a mile from Maidenhead Bridge and easily accessible by car, was an excellent point for supporters to see the VIII arrive at 11.30 am. and witness its transition on its way to noon arrival at Maidenhead Rowing Club, access provided by Eric Simms.
A fourth team rowed the VIII another 11 kilometres past many well-wishers approaching Bray Lock, and Dorney Lake, site of the London 2012 Olympic Regatta, traversing Boveney Lock before arriving at Rafts Boathouse on the banks of Windsor Castle.
Jamie's Finishing VIII, decked with a floral display befitting Fourth of June Celebrations, rowed the final few kilometres, passing through Romney Lock, in time to head the Eton College Procession of Boats.
Captain of Boats, Tony Pooley, with meticulous planning and event organisation, was on hand at Masters Boathouse with the other crew members, to lift the VIII out of the water and to congratulate Jamie Graham on such an outstanding achievement, at the end of a successful, rewarding and unforgettable Forget-Me-Not Row.
Jamie's Crew at Rafts Boathouse, Windsor
Jamie is indebted to Eton College Headmaster Tony Little and Lower Master Bob Stephenson for allowing his wife, Vicki Graham, and fundraisers Ali Parsons, Caroline Mann, Louise Baines and Jo Mann unrivalled access to Fellows' Eyot, so that Debbie Millard and helpers at Alzheimer's Research UK, Lynda Hughes and fellow sufferers at the Swindon Forget-me-not Centre could watch Jamie's boat row past.
Jimmy Scragg, Andrew Cross and the team at Eton College provided both the VIII and the support boat. Paul Budd and Sheila Harrington at Leander Club organised pre-row accommodation, dinner and breakfast. Mark Banks arranged practice and boating facilties.
The team were sustained with food and drink by Nixie Graham, Sara Paterson and Noni Graham and copious bananas, kindly donated by Debbie and Malcolm Stoneham of the Fourways Stores in Great Somerford, where Jamie bikes for the daily paper. In the car park post row, a thirst-quenching Vodka Pimms was generously supplied by Andrew and Trish Millar, cakes and nibbles by some kind wives.
Crew Photograph: my brother Colin Graham, son Magnus Graham and nephew Fergus Graham, Jonathan Baines, Christopher Daws, coxes Martin Fitzgerald and David FitzHerbert, Andrew Gordon, James Hepburne-Scott, Alexander Lindsay, Rory Mann, Hugh Matheson, Peregrine Moncreiffe, Tony Pooley, Jo Rogers, Mike Tebay.
JAMIE GRAHAM “We had a FABULOUS day. I am so proud of the Crew and how they helped me achieve a dream....”