Party night success for the Brightsides

The time has come for the Brightsides rowing team to set sail for the Canary Islands where they will enter the final stage of preparation for their cross-Atlantic row at the start of January, which is raising money for Get A-Head and Meningitis Now. Here, team leader Rod Adlington describes how humbled he was to receive so much support at the leaving party and despite the nerves, how much the team are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.

I cannot begin to say how utterly humbled I was by the support we received at the Brightsides leaving party in Coventry.

It was standing room only in the clubhouse as friends and supporters from far and wide came to wish us well on our Atlantic adventure.

We raised a spectacular £21,000 for Get A-Head and Meningitis Now through a fantastic auction, wishing tree, ticket sales and other fun and games and had the time of our lives as we caught up with so many of you.

That means our grand total to date is around £105,000 – with plenty of optimism that we can crack the £250,000 target we have set ourselves.

I cannot thank Adam Henson, the BBC Countryside presenter, enough for the superb way he compered the event and the support he has given us. And I’d also like to say a special thank you to athletic legend Dave Moorcroft and cross-Atlantic rower Ed Batchelor for their brilliant contributions.

One quote from Ed – who completed the 3,000-mile journey in 2021 – particularly stuck in my mind. He was describing how the team had literally battened down the hatches as a storm broke around them in the middle of the ocean.

 “At one point the waves were 40-50ft tall. We ended up going up a wave which didn’t break, came over the top of us and then dropped us 40ft down before crashing on top of us.”


Special thanks also to all of you who donated prizes for the auction. The memory of Alex Perry’s mum being out-bid for a cardboard cut-out of her son (which eventually fetched £520) will stay with me for a long time. And the hard-core battling for some of the top lots – the tour of the Alpine F1 team headquarters in particular – was as thrilling as it was epic.

It’s just a matter of days now before the crew meets up on the Canary Islands and gets ready for the big day when our oars touch water on January 3.

And despite the nerves, we really can’t wait. It will be the adventure of all our lives and we hope all of you will join with us in spirit at least.

So, please do support us in any way you can, and until next time, happy days.

As well as donating through our website,  you can also donate via text message:

Text ROW1 to 70191 to donate £10

Text ROW3 to 70191 to donate £30