Five retired Richmond women successfully took on the challenge of rowing in The Great River Race this month.

The ‘Tiller Girls’ who are all aged over 65, consisted of Hilary Pereira –former Director of Public Health from Twickenham, Lizzie Danckwerts - a former Director of a luxury gift company from Richmond, Judith Baskerville a teacher from Chiswick, Jos Thompson - a former lecturer from Staines and Ham’s Jean Loveland – the former Deputy Major and Councillor for Richmond.

It was their pure love for the River Thames that inspired the ‘Tiller Girls’ to take part in the 21.6-mile race and their sheer determination that led them to place third in the ‘historic ships’ category.

Ms Danckwerts said: “The challenge entailed rowing from London Docklands to Ham in our boat, Lillan - tender to the vintage motor yacht, Lilian, moored at Richmond.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

The ladies took part in the marathon to raise money for the Father Thames Trust

“The tender was built in 2000 by Mark Edwards and colleagues at Richmond Bridge Boathouses to the original 1916 design for one of the yacht’s tenders.”

The ladies took part in the marathon to raise money for the Father Thames Trust – the charity foundation that is also part of the Thames Lndscape Strategy- a non-profit organisation that looks after the ‘Arcadian Thames,’ also known as ‘London’s countryside,’ due to its rich conservation biology between Weybridge, Kew and Hampton.

The race began at the Millwall Slipway next to the Docklands Sailing Centre in east London and continued on to Ham, Richmond and other surrounding areas.

Founded in 1988 - The Great River Race, was inspired by both inexperienced and seasoned rowers - with a keen interest in various boat types that had sailed around the world, who wanted to emulate something similar in the capital.

Today the boat race attracts at least 330 boat crews from around the world and is open to all rowers of any level.

Ms Danckwerts explained: “We were only able to have limited practice for the race this year but, we managed to complete the Race in good time - and before the tide turned.”

“But we surpassed ourselves by finishing in our best ever time of three hours, 57 minutes and 58 seconds.

“This was also 40 minutes ahead of our time last year. And we were placed third in the historic ships category.”

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