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4 Dads Row

Fathers of former National Schools’ Champions unite and row the Thames for charity

Most parents of National Schools’ Regatta competitors do not row, and instead they spend any free time watching the plethora of regattas and heads that span the junior rowing calendar. Now, after over 10 years of cheering from the banks of the River Thames at Barnes, Marlow and Oxford, four Dads have decided to get in a boat themselves. 


Hugh Elwes, Al Davidson, Nick Digby and Rory Carnegie are preparing to row the length of the River Thames. The surnames of the ‘4 Dads Row’ may be familiar as you are likely to know their sons (or your junior rower will), who all row for the British Team and were successful NSR competitors; Sholto Carnegie won the Championship Quads for Marlow Rowing Club in 2013, Tom Digby won Championship Eights for Abingdon School in 2014, Freddie Davidson won Championship Pairs for St Paul’s School in 2016 and Charlie Elwes won Coxed Four for Radley College in 2016.  These four GB rowers have just returned from a successful weekend in Szeged at the European Championships.


The ‘4 Dads Row’ crew, are all firm friends following years of shared experiences as spectators, Hugh Elwes said

‘We have all been watching our sons from the towpath achieving amazing things for many years, but we also came to realise that none of us dads could actually row - we had all done other sports like cycling and rugby. So, this year we decided to get out there and learn to row and take on a formidable challenge of rowing the Thames, including the Tideway course, to raise as much money as possible for charity.’


The crew will start the row on Thursday 2nd May in Lechlade, Gloucestershire, rowing all 133 miles through 44 locks to finish in Putney, London on Monday May 6th. The crew are raising money for two important charities: the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and Love Rowing.  The charities have a deep personal connection for every member of the ‘Dads Crew’. Nick Digby lost his wife to breast cancer last year and the crew will be raising money to support the charity which helped treat her.


Al Davidson said on behalf of the crew,

‘The Royal Marsden has done so much to support our loved ones in their cancer treatments so it was natural to support them. And we chose Love Rowing because the charity offers kids from all backgrounds, and people with disabilities, the opportunities that we have seen our kids experience in rowing - the incredible camaraderie and teamwork, focus and energy whether that is in a local regatta, at Nat Schools or competing in the Boat Races - and how that spills over into their wider lives.’

May the wind be in their faces and the water run smooth as they make their way along the Thames for their charity row.  As they raise vital funds for two very special causes, if you would like to support the 4Dads in their challenge, the link to the fundraising page

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