Sally and Mari’s rowing progress

Sally and Mari’s rowing progress continues apace. You may remember a previous post (see link below) on the DBF Website following a visit by Keith Delderfield, his wife, Jess, and me to Marlow Rowing Club following the allocation of 2 Bader Grants.

Sally Hopewell had applied successfully to the DBF for a grant, on the advice of Mari, who had recently taken up rowing at the same club. Sally had discovered that she had an aptitude for the sport, and a big ambition (more of that to follow – no spoilers here!) and needed a boat of her own to take it further. She had identified a suitable second-hand skull for sale at a reasonable price and we were delighted to help her to buy it. Marlow Rowing Club, which has a wonderfully supportive para rowing group, applied separately for funds to buy another second hand skull which would enable Mari, who was showing huge promise in the sport as well, to row more regularly. Both boats would also be available to be used by their para rowing team, thereby giving more rowers and potential rowers with disabilities the chance to progress in the sport. Again, we were delighted to be able to support them.

The boats have been christened (with genuine bubbly!) “Spitfire” and “Lady B” in honour of Sir Douglas and Joan Bader.

Sally and Mari's rowing progress
Sally Hopewell and Wendy McCleave christen “Lady B” in a way she would have approved of!
Sally and Mari's rowing progress
Mari Durward Akhurst and Wendy McCleave christen Spitfire at Marlow Rowing Club








Sally and Mari’s rowing progress is largely due to commitment and very hard graft. Both have been practicing regularly and are going from strength, albeit with different aims in mind! Mari Durward Akhurst, a para dressage rider who originally took up rowing to increase her core strength to improve her riding, is already competing successfully in “Spitfire“.  Sally Hopewell has an exciting and ambitious goal to be revealed later (see – no spoilers!) and has formed a great partnership with “Lady B” in regular practice and strengthening sessions.

It is wonderful and means a lot to us when we get to see Bader Grants actually making a difference and this is definitely one of those times. Bader Grants Committee

We are excited to see what the future holds for this dedicated pair and have no doubt that Sally and Mari will continue to inspire with their progress. We are delighted to be a small part of that, and have no doubt that Sir Douglas and Joan Bader would be cheering them every watery inch of their respective journeys.

Sall and Mari's rowing progress

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