Mississipi Million

The Great River Rowed

A very important appeal

A very important appeal

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014

Tiptonville, Tennessee. 27th September

I write to you from what is now indisputably the Deep South of the US. I have now rowed nearly 1,500 miles and have around 850 miles to go to reach New Orleans on the 25th October. I now need to address the fundraising aspect of this challenge in deadly seriousness and I need help from each and everyone of you.

From this weekend, we will be at approximately $400,000 in current fundraising, with one month to NOLA. By the time we reach NO, I need this total to be at or about $750,000 because when we get to that level, my ability to seek matching funds from friendly corporate supporters, together with Gift Aid from the UK, will mean we are pretty much guaranteed to make our target of $1,000,000. The achievement of this will be a truly momentous milestone for Right To Play and the 1.1 million children that we help each and every week. I want all of you who are in any way connected to this project to feel a sense of real pride in what we have done thus far, because whilst it is me and Paddy who are rowing the miles, each and every one of you is part of the project. In order to get to this total, I want to split the effort between two groups.

1 The Participant Crew Members.

Some of you have been out and experienced the might and majesty of the Mississippi and some of you (quite a lot in fact) have yet to arrive. Some of you have made enormous strides in fundraising and some of you have yet to get underway. I need you all to understand the critical importance of reaching the fundraising target you have been set, or set for yourselves. If you all manage to hit the base target, the cumulative impact of this will be huge. I cannot stress sufficiently how important your contribution is to the total. Whilst some have access to significant sums, others need to spread their net widely, but it is in the collective that our strength lies. This is your one opportunity, so please give it everything – I most certainly am.

2 The Supporters.

You make up the largest single group. You are my friends and the friends of my friends. You are some of my very closest family and connections and some of you may not have even heard of me until this madness occurred and someone made you aware of it. But just like the participant crew members, I very much need your help. In asking for this help, I know that many of you have already given most generously and if you have, I ask that you look further to others who may be moved by this challenge.

Sometimes, large numbers like $1,000,000 can seem truly daunting and the concept of even the most modest donation may seem insignificant. But I want you to consider this, please, with all seriousness.  During these three months, I will have rowed well more than 500,000 strokes on the Mississippi. Could I ask you and all your contacts to consider donating £2/$2 for just ten of the strokes I will have rowed? If everyone contributes £20/$20, then we will easily begin to reach our target and all of you will, quite rightly, bask in the knowledge that for a relatively modest amount, collectively you have made all the difference.

I know this is a lot to ask, but I can promise you that all the miles of effort, sweat, strain and pain, all the sores and cuts and blisters, all the sleepless nights in hotels and motels will be as but nothing if we can reach our goal.

And remember one very important fact – every penny or cent raised goes directly to Right To Play. All expenses relating to this – the purchase of the boats, the transport, the accommodation, the food and drink, the equipment and every expense relating to the project – has been covered by sponsors, friends and by me and Julie.

Thank you for reading this and acting. Now let’s smash this ball out of the park.


  1. Dear John

    Just back from a much-needed Michaelmas Weekend Exeat so apologies for no recent comments. I would have thought the South started when you get below the Mason-Dixon Line, so south Missouri or thereabouts. Anyway, you are definitely in the South by now, with Cairo being at about the limit I would say… Here are some more songs, anyway -

    Meet Me in St Louis (not sure – jazz favourite)
    Cairo, Illinois (The Sherman Brothers, for the children’s movie Huckleberry Finn)
    Big River (Johnny Cash)
    When The Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin)

    I hope that helps – keep it all going and I hope the donations keep rolling in…


  2. Thank you for this exhortation, John. I will use it in my next appeals. I am aware my fund raising has lagged but with 3 weeks to go before joining you again I am going to relaunch the effort. Should be able to shake out a few thousand more. meanwhile training hard so I wont slow you down as I presume you must be uber fit now. Keep going old mate. Sending massive good wishes and, as Churchill was won’t to say: KBO! Best, Gavin (aka GP).

  3. Do you have a US based contribution opportunity? Donations to eligible charities can be deducted from income, thus reducing tax liability.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>