Christ Church student and lecturer rowing together

10 February 2020

British sports stars support Christ Church to row 2020 miles for student mental health

Canterbury Christ Church University and Christ Church Students’ Union are joining forces with institutions across the UK to take on the challenge of rowing 2020 miles to raise awareness and funds for student mental health through Sport Relief.

Sport Relief has partnered with Row Britannia for the challenge, inviting every university and college in the UK to get involved. Christ Church staff and students aim to raise £3,000 by rowing 2020 miles by March to contribute towards Row Britannia’s £1.5 million target to donate to charities providing mental health support for young people. 

Former Women’s Rugby Captain and Christ Church Honorary Doctor, Catherine Paynter, and former British skeleton racer Lizzy Yarnold OBE, also an Honorary Doctor, will join the challenge on Thursday 5 March, alongside the Atlantic Avengers rowing team. 

The challenge kicks off on Thursday 13 February at 9am in the Anselm Foyer, on North Holmes Road, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran taking on the first mile.

"At Canterbury Christ Church University, we are committed to supporting student and staff wellbeing.

“By taking part in this challenge, we hope to unite our University community and create a greater awareness of mental health and the support that is available.

“I will be rowing the first mile of Row Britannia at the University to demonstrate my support, and I encourage all students and staff to take up the challenge where possible and unite behind this deserving cause"

Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran

Paul Carney, Director of Sport, said: “Row Britannia is a fantastic way to support Sport Relief and raise awareness of mental health, and we hope that the whole University community will unite and row for this great cause.

Phil Packer from Row Britannia with colleagues from the university and students union.From left Moira Helm, Director of Student Experience, Row Britannia's Phil Packer, Christ Church Students' Union President Phil Kloppenborg with Sports and Engagement President Chloe Woolaway, Paul Carney, Director of Sport, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen James and Jack Crittenden from Christ Church Sport.

“Between now and Sport Relief Day on Friday 13 March we want as many people as possible to take part - we will bring the challenge to all corners of the University to engage students and staff.

“One of the key events will be University Mental Health Day on Thursday 5 March, which will see us attempt a 12-hour Rowathon.”

For more information on getting involved, visit

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Last edited: 15/01/2020 11:19:00