On Saturday, 12th March 2016, around fifty Club members, plus friends and family, came together on an uncharacteristically sunny afternoon at Fulham Reach Boat Club to cumulatively row the length of the Thames, on rowing machines, in aid of Rethink Mental Illness.

Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with Mind, is behind the biggest campaign to end the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems still face in England.

The event was organised for two very important reasons:

Firstly, to raise funds for Rethink Mental Illness to help them continue their fantastic work in reducing the very damaging and spiteful stigma surrounding mental illness. So far, the Club has raised over £5,000 via donations from Lodges, Club members, friends and family members and from the sale of specially designed lapel pins. Over 300 of the Thames to Change lapel pins have been sold in numerous Lodges across London and also over the Internet to Brethren all around the world (Click here to purchase your Thames to Change lapel pin).

Secondly, to give Club members an excuse to stand in their Mother Lodges, explain what the Clubs’ aims are and to bring the subject of mental illness into the temple. With one in four people suffering with a mental illness at some point in their life, we all do, or will, know someone who is unwell and in need of our help. They may be your partner; your mother; your father; your sibling; your friend; or you may have personal experience. No matter who’s suffering, one thing is guaranteed, at some point in your life, you will have to deal with the issue of mental illness – if you haven’t already.

The Club believes the more we discuss our experiences of mental illness, the sooner the metaphorical elephant in the room will be eliminated.

Not only were Club members out in force to take on the challenge, but we were also joined by Daniel and Kate, of Rethink Mental Illness, who helped knock off a very respectable amount of kilometers from our target distance!

With so many incredible people participating, it didn’t take long for us to reach our target in just under six hours – well done all!

Once the target distance was reached (and the participants had showered), everyone gathered on the river’s edge at The Rutland Pub for a celebratory drink and well-deserved pub lunch whilst watching the Six Nations Rugby Championship.

The Club would like to thank Rethink Mental Illness for its amazing support throughout the past year and Fulham Reach Boat Club for their generosity in letting us use their wonderful facility.

The Club will continue to receive donations (http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/thames-to-change) and sell the Thames to Change lapel pin until June, when it will present a cheque to Rethink Mental Illness at its Lodge, Burgoyne Lodge No.902, on Saturday 11th June. Please email mitch@connaughtclub.org , if you’d like to attend.