On Thursday 1 August, three men will be taking to the river Avon in a rowing boat to complete a 24.5 mile row from Stratford upon Avon to Cropthorne, just outside Evesham.

They will be completing this sponsored row to raise money for our diocesan retreat house, Holland House. The oarsmen will include Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Worcester, Robert Patterson, Revd Ian Spencer, warden at Holland House and Canon Richard Thorniley, Rector of Church Lench w Rous Lench & Abbots Morton & Harvington and Rural Dean of Evesham. The journey will be completed on ‘Maria’ a rowing boat, which started its life in Stratford and was completely refurbished by Bishop Robert in 2017.

This is the third sponsored row that Bishop Robert and Ian have completed for the retreat house, rowing from Cropthorne to Tewkesbury in 2017 and Bewdley to Worcester last year. Bishop Robert said: “Holland House is a beautiful old retreat house which is enjoyed by many throughout the year. However, its building and delightful grounds need constant upkeep and continual process of improvements is always under way. All this comes down to the need of financial support and our annual sponsored row is a good way to raise some money to help.”

The three men in a boat will start from Stratford upon Avon riverside at 8:30am on 1 August, where they will be waved off an blessed by the Bishop of Warwick, John Stroyan. They are hoping to reach Holland House by 5pm where there will be a party with live music to which everyone is invited!

Bishop John said: “I am pleased to be blessing the start of the sponsored row. I pray that Robert, Ian, Richard and ‘Maria’ have a safe and enjoyable trip down the River Avon to Holland House. Holland House is a wonderful retreat house that I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of times and I look forward to returning there in September to take part in their ‘Bishops in Conversation’ series.”

Holland House is a retreat and conference centre in the village of Cropthorne, between Evesham and Pershore on the south bank of the River Avon. The house is resource for the nearby Anglican dioceses, for churches of all traditions and for people of other faiths.

For more information contact: Ian Spencer, Warden at Holland House on 01386 860330. Tickets for the afternoon celebration to welcome back the rowers can be bought on the Holland House website.