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The Light Fund London to Paris Row team ready for the off

Bulldog Licensing’s Rob Corney talks us through the final build up ahead of the challenge start.

Captain’s Blog, start date… changeable

There is a saying about the best laid plans and all that… no matter how well organised they are, mother nature will always have a say and in the case of The Light Fund Row, that voice has been strong enough to whip up gale force winds for each of the water-based training sessions and for the days on which the crew planned to be crossing the Channel.

In the face of predicted 78km/h gusts, discretion got the better part of valour and the intended start date of Saturday April 27 was pushed back by 24 hours into a weather window.

With a new push off time of 08:00 Sunday April 28, the usual schadenfreude we all experience when watching people tackle the London Marathon has dissipated rapidly for The Light Fund Crew faced with 817km of open water ahead of them. The boats are fully laden, the training plans are tapering down and we’re ready for the off.

The weekend provided a few members of the crew an opportunity to head to Ramsgate to start loading up the supply boats and survey the (extremely cramped) living conditions on board the Posh House (kindly sponsored by Whitehouse Leisure/Posh Paws) for the challenge ahead. With a crew living on top of each other for a week comprising licensees, agents and licensors all thrown in together, it will be a brave rower (or fast swimmer) who brings up CMFs and DTRs!

If you’ve ever wondered what enough provisions to feed a whole crew of people rowing around the clock for a week looks like… well it’s basically an entire Tesco van, one slightly perturbed driver, 100l of bottled water, 10 large removals boxes, 3 10kg sacks of rice, 1 overly excited Labrador, about 20 giant packs of pasta, over 200 adventure packs of freeze dried meals, enough couscous to beach a pink boat at Oxford Circus and enough Pot Noodles to feed three students unions (the major concern with this being that, when Ben placed the order, there appears to have been a special offer on Bombay Bad Boy flavour which will be fun… at sea… with one toilet).

A mixture of nerves and excitement are ever-present on the crew’s WhatsApp group, but a huge sense of determination caps everything as we are all overwhelmed by the continuing generosity of the licensing industry. It’s no great secret that the market is a challenging environment at present, but to see companies digging deep in order to support the cause and to continually buoy up the Light Fund is testament to the incredible spirit and community to which we belong.

We will be proudly flying The Entertainer flag as a constant reminder of the huge generosity of our headline sponsor, wearing the crew caps kindly provided by H&A and the crew t-shirts supplied by Bioworld (which is also providing the land support), mining the Flair first aid kit for blister relief (and hopefully nothing else), infrequently bedding down in our Dreamtex sleeping bags, rowing to the tunes provided by Jazwares, hydrating ourselves thanks to Bravado’s water bottles and staying warm and dry in Poetic Brands’ Musto safety suits.

The crew kit and start/finish banners will be testament to the depth of support and munificence throughout the industry, emblazoned with the logos of Brand Licensing Europe 2019, Character World, Zag Toys, Banter, Angry Birds, Smiffys, DJ Murphy and Rainbow Designs and will help to push us all through some pretty tough times ahead.

And of course the daily blog, sponsored by Little Brother Books will aim to keep you all abreast of our progress. There is a small possibility that, with time, it may increase in brevity and decrease in humour, but I will certainly do my best to capture the moment.

You will be able to follow progress by clicking on the Miraculous button (below) and on Source’s homepage and following Annie Ski 2 (this takes you through to the craft info page, simply scroll down to where you will be able to see position live on the map by clicking the link. Annie will appear as a small dotted square right in the middle of the map).


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