A new boat, named in honour of the Noah and Rowan Benson Gately support group, was unveiled on Saturday morning in Ballyforan, in conjunction with the arrival of the participants of the River Suck Descent Challenge.
The double scull boat has been named ‘Noah and Rowan’ by Athlone Boat Club, and it will be used at regattas and events all over the country, helping to boost the profile of the support group and to encourage people to get behind their fundraising efforts to help the two boys in their battle against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Sinéad Hensey of Athlone Boat Club was at the launch on Saturday and she related how the naming of the boat was something that the club wanted to do.
“Like a lot of sports clubs, income is hard found at the moment but as a friend of Bianca (Benson, mother of Noah and Rowan) I wanted to do something and the club was 100% behind the idea. This is a brand new Kangua Double Scull boat, really top of the line, and it will draw attention everywhere we bring it,” she said.
Pádraig Hegarty, also of Athlone Boat Club, explained how this would drive revenue for the support group.
“When a new boat like this arrives at an event, it catches the eye of everyone involved. We’ll have it prominently displayed and that will lead people to want to get pictures and to ask about it. Normally boats like this are either sponsored, or named in honour of past members of the club, but in this instance we’ve already had a lot of interest in this boat and we expect that will continue as it travels around the country to events in Cork, Dublin, Belfast and beyond,” he said.
Fifteen rowers from the local area were also in Ballyforan for the unveiling of the boat, having begun the River Suck descent from Castlerea on Friday morning. They reached Mount Talbot on Friday night and set out from there in the morning, passing through Ballyforan and Ballinasloe en route to Shannonbridge, completing a 120km journey.
* For more information, or to support this truly worthy cause, simply look for the Noah and Rowan Benson Gately support group on Gofundme, Twitter and Instagram.