River rowing for the care of their siblings

thisisoxfordshire: Tom Tinant, front, and crew in training for their challenge                Picture: OX68823 Andrew Walmsley Buy this photo Tom Tinant, front, and crew in training for their challenge Picture: OX68823 Andrew Walmsley

BROTHERS and sisters of seriously ill youngsters rowed down the River Thames to raise cash for their care.

Teenagers aged 13 to 16 took canoes from Oxford to Pangbourne to row 50km (31 miles) over three days.

They set off from Donnington Bridge on Wednesday and pitched tents each night.

They were due to arrive in the Berkshire village last night.

The fundraisers – who have raised more than £2,000 – are brothers and sisters of those treated or helped by Helen and Douglas House Hospice.

Charity spokeswoman for the East Oxford hospice Bobbie Stormont said: “They wanted to raise money just to say thank you for all the support they have received. It really is fantastic.”

They are involved in the charity’s Elephant Club which is run for the siblings of children treated at the hospice.

Hospice siblings team leader Laura Woodward said: “The canoe challenge is a great opportunity to spend time together and the siblings wanted something that required team effort.

“Lots of them have talked about wanting to give something back to Helen & Douglas House and that has been really positive, especially for the three young people whose brothers and sisters have passed away.”

Tom Tinant, 13, from Northampton, was among those taking part. His sister Lucy, 14, has an undiagnosed neurodegenerative disease. Their father Simeon said: “The siblings group is a great thing. It allows them to meet other brothers and sisters of very sick children and, indeed, those who have lost brothers and sisters. What they are doing is fantastic.”

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