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Club biting back to raise cash
Cheney Falcons Rowing Club made a fundraising YouTube video. The film was the idea of rowing coach Zena Forster, pictured with rowers.
A SCHOOL rowing club is hoping a video featuring a shark attack on the River Thames will bite a chunk out of its fund-raising target.
Cheney Falcons Rowing Club, based at Cheney School, Oxford, is one of the few state school rowing clubs in the country and needs to raise about £12,000 to £13,000 each year to pay for coaching.
Grants have proved difficult to come by, so the youngsters came up with the idea of creating a spoof YouTube video featuring the team being chased by a “shark” as they practise their rowing, before asking people to sponsor the team.
Coach Zena Forster said: “It’s really crucial to raise the money.
“We were very successful last year at getting grants but a lot of those funding pots have got smaller and more people are going for them.
“The idea came from the kids, and they did all the technical stuff too.”
The film was made on a shoestring budget of just £11.99 for a toy foam shark.
Those involved ranged from the toddler brother of one of the rowers, to Ms Forster’s 74-year-old father Dr John Forster – who wore his old Imperial College rowing blazer to play his part.
Heavy rains resulting in dangerously high river levels almost led to the project being shelved as the children couldnot go out on the river for weeks at a time.
Just one person is caught by the shark – keen wild swimmer and Oxford City Poet Kate Clanchy – before it is fought off by head coach and three times world champion sculler Peter Haining.
It is hoped people watching the video will make a donation towards the group and a target has been set at £5,000.
Already more than 1,000 people have viewed the video.
Ms Forster said: “It’s been great fun to make, although it took much longer than anticipated, about three months.
“We need people not just to watch it and enjoy it but to donate as well.”
There are 42 members of the club, 25 of whom come to the river to row regularly.
l To see the video and to donate, visit cheneyfalcon.co.uk