For the love of (gig) rowing

By David Callaghan, 25, Wandsworth, rower with men’s crew.

I’ve now been living in London for seven months. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I always wanted to come and move to the capital. I loved the jolt of the city, the rapid pace that keeps people thriving and living. After university, I returned to Cornwall for a brief spell and had an amazing three years making new friends and meeting amazing people – but I still longed for the city buzz.

I was fortunate enough eight months ago to be offered an amazing role in Parliament that was brilliant for me. But something was missing, something that I couldn’t easily quantify. I knew how I missed my friends and family back home, and so I needed something to remind me of Cornwall in my life. It was at that moment that I came across something that had followed me to London from the far south-west. Little did I know that a group of Cornish ex-pats had come together and formed London’s first Gig rowing club.

Haven taken up Gig rowing in Cornwall just a few years ago – I knew this was my chance to get going and return to a sport I had loved. For those of you who don’t know, a Gig is a six-oared wooden rowing boat with an extensive history.

I find myself now helping out the gig club with their marketing to get their second gig boat (very much required because of swelling membership). They’ve applied for funding through the Aviva Community Fund for up to £25,000 for a new gig boat. At the moment, we only have one boat – which makes it harder (if not impossible) to accommodate so many new starters.

And that, dear reader, is where you come in. I need you to spend less that five minutes voting on our community funding application. You see, gigs are not cheap and we are in desperate need for a second one. I can’t deny that there are clubs back home that also require a gig too – and we are relatively new – but that means we need your help even more to accommodate all our new members.

A vote for this isn’t just a vote for a Gig club. It’s a vote for the Cornish who’ve ventured out of our iconic county and settled in the ‘big smoke’. It’s a vote for our historic relationship with the water and how a sport is prolifically growing beyond the county boarders.

You should come and give it a go when you can – it’s an amazing experience with a vibrant community.

David Callaghan