Tony Pulis

18 Jun 2015


Team Tower to Tower arrived triumphant in Paris after a gruelling 7-day, 450 nautical mile row from Tower Bridge in London to the Eiffel Tower.

The Team, including West Bromwich Albion Boss, Tony Pulis, Comedians Nick Hancock and Hugh Dennis, and Olympic Rower, Debbie Flood, were raising funds for The Donna Louise Children's Hospice – a charity based in Stoke-on-Trent providing specialist care and support to children with shortened life expectancy and their families.

Originally hoping to raise £90k to fund the work of 2 nurses at the Hospice, the challenge captured the imagination of the general public, attracting unprecedented levels of donations. The team has raised over £250k for the charity to date which will go towards the £3million it costs each year to run the service for more than 200 children and their families.

Talking at the end of the gruelling challenge, West Bromwich Boss, Tony Pulis said: "It's been very difficult and not like anything I've ever done before.

"I have done challenging things in the past but they have always been on dry land.

"There were some tough moments along the way but it's unbelievable to have finished and the most important thing is raising money for the hospice.

"It's a special place and the things they do for children and families going through some really difficult times is marvelous."

The rowers were also aiming to raise awareness of the challenges of sleep deprivation – a reality for so many of the families the charity supports.

Melanie Williams, Head of High Value Partnerships at the Hospice, and also one of the rowers, said: "Many of the children supported by the Hospice have very complex needs and a full night's sleep is simply not possible for their parents and carers.

"We were rowing for 2hrs then resting for 2hrs, constantly for 7 days, managing to catch just a few minutes sleep on each 2hr rotation, which was exhausting. We would be woken up at the end of our 2hr off-shift and made to get back in the rowing boat and row, sometimes in very rough seas, for 2hrs whilst struggling with blisters and aching muscles.

"It was extremely tough, but we were all very aware of the reason we were doing this, and we knew that after 7 days, we would be able to get a full night's sleep again – something that so many of our families don't get.

"That's one of the reasons why the Donna Louise is so important to families, offering them respite breaks so they can get some sleep and a chance to recharge their batteries."

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