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Goldsmiths student raises £18,000 for Macmillan with 24-hour virtual row

A Goldsmiths university student has raised £18,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by completing a 24-hour virtual row, writes Simon Throssell…

As reported in the News in October, Tom Leeming decided to take on the mammoth endurance challenge after his brother Sam was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.

Laughing, he said: “It sounds a bit silly but if I was to do anything less than row for 24 hours, what’s the point?”

The event was scheduled to take place in November at The Yard in Peckham but coronavirus restrictions meant that gyms were forced to close.

But that didn’t stop Tom’s determination and he decided to organise a YouTube live-stream in January 2021 instead.

From left to right: Gareth, Sam, Tom and Agni chatting after the event

Three Thousand eight hundred people from across the world watched Tom and his friends Agni and Gareth row 640km in 24 hours.

The trio were joined by guest appearances from ultra athletes Fergus Crawley and Will Goodge, and TV comedian Joel Dommett.

Over £7,500 was donated during the stream bringing the total amount of money raised to £18,102; almost £17,000 more than Tom’s initial target of £1,500.

Speaking after the event, Tom said: “As painful as it was, seeing the support that we had behind us and knowing that this money is going to be going to such a good cause made it all completely worth it.

“Throughout this whole event, I have struggled to put into words just how amazing the support has been so to everyone that has shared, donated, commented, ran along, rowed along, watched to the early hours THANK YOU.”

Tom added: “Sam, thank you mate. For a lot of things really, you’re my biggest inspiration.

“A lot of the time you’re the reason I get up in the morning and for the most part you’re what kept me going through the darkest times.”


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