Row for Ned: Aberystwyth rower completes 24-hour solo indoor row for son

Bleddyn Jones from Aberystwyth Rowing Club rowed 275,168 metres in 24 hours in memory of his son Ned, raising over £8,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance #YourStories

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Bleddyn Jones and his two sons rowing for Ned

Bleddyn Jones, 51, from Aberystwyth Rowing Club rowed a staggering 275,168 metres in 24 hours on the indoor rowing machine last Friday in memory of his son, Ned, who died in March 2016.

Jones said: “My five-year-old son Ned died in a car accident and I had been wanting to do something to remember him and demonstrate my love for my family, my wife Sharon and my other two sons Tomi and Cai.

“Ned was a very happy boy, finding joy in everything and anything. His death has left us devastated and has changed our lives forever.

“I wanted to do something special so decided to try and break the current 24-hour world record of 279,242 metres for my age group (50-59) as I thought it was achievable. In the process, I wanted to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance who attended the crash scene but were unable to save my son’s life.

“Rowing in all its forms – sea and indoor – has been of great solace to me since the death of my son.”

Jones started training last May for his record attempt and enlisted the help of the Well-being and Health Assessment Research Unit (WARU) at Aberystwyth University, who devised a training programme. Since May he has rowed 2 million metres with some sessions lasting eight hours long and has completed a 100km session in 7hrs 35mins.

On the day of the record attempt he started rowing at 11am, with a live feed on Facebook making it easy for club members and the wider community to follow his progress.

“The whole of Ned’s school came down to support and many people came down to row alongside, including through the night.

He added: “Some people had never rowed before, including one 10-year-old girl who clocked up 14,000 metres in two hours!

“The first 14 hours were fine but then I hit a wall at 1am when all my energy went and was feeling sick and couldn’t eat.”

Rowing in all its forms – sea and indoor – has been of great solace to me since the death of my son

Somehow, the Aberystwyth rower pulled through and the record was still on at 6am. But then he realised that he would be unable to hold the pace for another five hours to break the record, so made the hard choice of easing back in order to be able to finish.

Afterwards, Jones thanked Aberystwyth Rowing Club and the WARU Unit at Aberystwyth University, saying: “The donations and the messages have been amazing along with the support of the people who came down during the row.

“Thanks, finally, to Nick Gregory a friend and fellow rower at Aberystwyth, who has been with me all the way.”

Jones’s mammoth efforts have currently raised over £8,000, well over his original target with all proceeds supporting the Wales Air Ambulance Charitable Trust.

To support Row for Ned you can donate here.

We’d love to hear #YourStories from you club and community – find out how to do this here

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