Commonwealth rower raising awareness

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─ covered over 3,000 miles

─ raising mental and environmental awareness

─ former Royal Marines Commando of the British Army arrived in Guyana on Wednesday

─ rowed from Sierra Leone to Guyana

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 28, 2019

After approximately three months sailing the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Richard Allen, a former Royal Marines Commando of the British Army arrived in Guyana around sunset on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

Allen, who rowed from the shores of Sierra Leone to Guyana, was greeted by scores of spectators upon his arrival. Speaking to the media moments after docking at the Harbour Master’s Boathouse in Georgetown, he explained that he undertook the expedition to raise awareness and change common misconceptions about the Commonwealth as well as to raise funds for various charities and foundations.

“The commonwealth isn’t about politics or politicians, it’s about people, all 2.4 billion of us and we should really be coming together to help each other,” he remarked.

He told media operatives that while the journey was for a good cause, it was not without challenges. The Commonwealth rower disclosed there was a point during which he was separated from the vessel. Another major challenge for him was when three of his four oars broke. This, he said, led to him “stringing” together the broken parts to form a new oar which he used to complete his journey.

During a press briefing at the Guyana Tourism Authority’s (GTA) boardroom on Thursday, it was noted that when the journey was undertaken, Allen contacted the Guyana Foundation and expressed an interest in highlighting their work.

Supriya Singh-Bodden, Founder of the Guyana Foundation, said during Allen’s stay in the country, he will be raising awareness on the foundation’s work in mental health and environmental awareness.

“We discussed the natural beauty and the natural flora and fauna and the sea and the fact that is one of the most important resources that we possess. We also looked at ways to design an educational programme to raise the awareness on the necessity to protect the environment,” the founder said.

According to Allen, this project will create collaboration among schools across continents.

“We’re creating a network of children learning about each other and working together and if we can link that a school in Guyana with one in the UK or somewhere else in the Commonwealth that would be an amazing thing because children are growing up to say we’re not isolated on our own, we’ve got friends and we’re working on something together.”

During his meet and greet with scores of students from schools in the region, Allen underscored the importance of being conscious of your actions and the impact they have on the environment.

“Things we do just doesn’t necessarily affect us; it has lots of effects on other people… plastics ending up in the sea and ruining marine life. It’s very important that we start looking after things and start reducing how much plastics and rubbish we use,” he explained.

The Commonwealth Rower received a warm Guyanese welcome and was presented with tokens from the students of St. Margret’s Primary School as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Allen will also be visiting the various project sites of the Guyana Foundation as well as several schools. It was highlighted that he was made an ambassador of the Guyana Foundation in the UK and that the expedition was only part of a much bigger project.

Allen and his boat, which bears the name Tamu’kke meaning “together or united” in Patamona, broke the record of the American endurance athlete, Katie Spotz who rowed over 2,817 miles in 2010 from Dakar, Senegal to Georgetown, Guyana.

Anara Khan.

Images: Giovani Gajie, Marceano Narine & Ameer Sattaur.