An over-60s female strong team are picking up their oars for the UK’s annual 21.6 miles London river marathon to raise money for charity.

Linda Duffield, from Petersham road, is joining the ‘Mothers for Father Thames’ in the ‘Lillian’ for the UK’s Great River Race from London Docklands to Ham on September 9.

Ms Duffield and her team mates – Hilary Pereira, Lizzie Danckwerts, Frances Kavenagh and Jos Thompson will take on the challenging race in a replica of a 1916’s boats tender made by Mark Edwards to raise funds for the Father Thames Trust and Thames Landscape Strategy,

Ms Duffield, a trustee of the Father Thames Trust Fund, said: “I have never rowed in my life but I am looking forward to the race and very excited.

“Our boat the Lillian is a replica of the 1916 ship tender which belonged to the main vessel – the Lillian.

“It definitely isn’t built for speed but we are just determined to get there but definitely won’t be the fastest.”

Ms Periera, who lives on the water in a historic boat on the Twickenham bank-side with her husband, approached Ms Duffield – a rowing novice - to join her in the race which they are expecting to take ‘at least four hours’.

Ms Duffield said: “There are two novices in the team and we have been out on the river about four or five times now which was tiring but still fun.

“Hilary suggested the charity because anyone who lives on this stretch of river knows how amazing it is and we want to ensure that future generations continue to have the same pleasure and access to the river that we enjoy.”

The Trust was set up by locals in 1996 to support the work of the Thames Landscape Strategy - a 100-year plan to conserve, enhance and promote the Arcadian Thames between Weybridge and Kew.

Working with many partners, including local authorities and community groups, the Thames Landscape Strategy organises projects to educate, restore and maintain the landscape for people and wildlife.

Ms Duffield added: “It will be a great chance to see such a lovely river from the actual river and not the bank.

“If I survive the race I will definitely continue rowing – it will be my new activity.”

Launched in 1988, the race has now become the biggest event in Europe of its kind and attracts over 330 crews across the globe featuring a variety of different vessels who will compete in various ‘categories’ with different handicap systems and ‘staggered starting times’.