Governor rows towards world record

Stuart Thorp, a governor at Southland High School, has achieved a world record in the longest tandem rowing experience
Stuart Thorp, a governor at Southland High School, has achieved a world record in the longest tandem rowing experience
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A Chorley school governor has successfully rowed his way towards a world record.

Stuart Thorp, who is a governor at Southlands High School, on Clover Road, took on the challenge of the ‘longest continual tandem row’ with fellow rower Maurice O’Kane.

The pair spent 50 hours taking it in turns on a rowing machine, burning approximately 25,000 calories each over the course of May 3 and May 4. In total, they covered 300 miles.

Stuart found his passion for rowing after a change of job and increased time pressures made him pile on the pounds.

Dad-of-three Stuart, 39, who has taken part in The British Indoor Rowing Championships, said: “In my teens and mid twenties I used to be quite active.

“I played rugby and table tennis and went to the gym every week day.

“Then with the change of job and the new routine, I couldn’t do any of these activities anymore.

“Even worse, from the set up of the cabin to Christmas 2009, I guess I can count on one hand how often I used the equipment there.

“So, at the age of 37, I topped the scales at 25 stone. This really was a case of enough is enough.

“It was due to Maurice and I both having a common interest in the long steady rowing sessions that we can up with the world record attempt.”

Maurice, 45, said: “Stu approached me with the idea of a possible world record attempt doing a tandem row.

“We were both into long, slow, fat burn rows rather than racers.

“The idea of a world record really appealed to me and so we agreed on a date.”

All money that is raised from the tandem row will be donated to The British Heart Foundation.

Deputy headteacher at Southlands High School, Brian Souter, said: “The two days showed our students what can be achieved with real determination.”

On May 26, Stuart and Maurice will take on their next fundraising venture, by walking from Darwen Tower to Blackpool Tower. The walk is a total of 34miles, and will go via Hoghton Tower.

To make a donation and for more information visit www.justgiving.com/MauriceOKane-StuartThorp.