Councillor set to attempt a 24-hour world record row

Parish councillor Tom Blaylock is making a world-record attempt to support a Barnham mother.

The Endurance Concept 2 row will take place at Six Villages Sports Centre in Westergate and is planned to finish on Tom’s 63rd birthday.

He is going for the over-60s 24-hour rowing world record in aid of Nelson Trust, a charity that deals with difficult addictions, often coupled with complicated mental illness.

Julie Taylor organised the event because her daughter Flo was helped by the trust 18 months ago.

“We were so desperate and thought we would lose her,” said Julie.

“She has now just celebrated her 21st birthday, has been clean for 18 months, has hope and has experienced happiness, love and a purpose in life. I owe this place everything.”

Tom Blaylock, of Hook Lane, Aldingbourne, will start his row on Tuesday, February 28, at 9am and aim to complete it at 9am on March 1, his birthday.

He will be joined by 76-year-old Sandy Clarke, from Barnham, who will row alongside while she can for the Guess How Far Sandy Can Row competition.

A third indoor rower will be set up, where supporters will row for 30 minutes each on a rota basis throughout the 24 hours.

Julie, who has lived in Barnham for 23 years, is also hoping to have a cake sale, with the help of a team of friends.

She said: “My daughter has a long history of mental health illness which culminated in an addiction to alcohol at the age of 17.

“Resources for Flo in West Sussex were very limited and 18 months ago, we were as desperate as it ever gets to find help for her.

“Having heard of the Nelson Trust, I contacted them and they accepted Flo, although she was incredibly ill at the time.

“After a difficult start, Flo has never looked back. She is still at the Nelson Trust but now in resettlement housing and doing voluntary work at a bistro in Gloucester called The Hub.

“She enjoys life for the first time and thinks about the future.”

To support Tom’s sponsored world record attempt, visit his JustGiving page at

Tom and Julie are friends who met at the gym and he learned more abou the Nelson Trust, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, from her.

For more information about The Nelson Trust, visit