26-mile row raised funds for anti-bullying projects
A Biddulph woman rowed a marathon last weekend to raise money for a local community centre after opening up about her experiences of “horrific” bullying as a teenager.
Jill Salt, a Labour town and district councillor who represents Biddulph East, did more than 26 miles on her rowing machine last Saturday and has raised almost £800 for Biddulph Youth and Community Zone.
“It was absolutely knackering and now I've got big blisters on my heels,” said Coun Salt. “There were bits of it where I thought I wouldn't be able to carry on, but I'm really glad that I did it all in one go. It took me four hours, 44 minutes and 45 seconds.”
Coun Salt said that she has struggled with mental health issues in the past, which is why she asked the Community Zone to ringfence the money she raised for dealing with mental health issues and anti-bullying causes.
She said that some of the issues she has dealt with stemmed from childhood bullying: “I was horrifically bullied as a teenager. One evening after I had attended Air Cadets, they were waiting for me afterwards. But, it was okay - I could wait in my dad's car. He was inside and locking up. It was a summer evening and I climbed into his car and locked the doors but I had neglected to think of the sunroof. A girl climbed onto the bonnet and grabbed my hair and punched me in the face. It was awful. That was just one of many incidents.
“As a teacher, I have worked with a few young people with mental health problems and I thought, why should I be keeping my own issues a secret? If a teacher broke their arm or something like that, they wouldn't keep that a secret. I have been gifted a platform by people in Biddulph so I want to use it.”
Coun Salt said that her rowing marathon was a huge challenge since the furthest she had rowed previously was 10,000m. Lockdown provided her with the opportunity to push herself further on the rowing machine and she was soon able to row double that distance.
Speaking to other rowers on internet forums, Coun Salt said that she was now able to row 20,000m and was told by rowing enthusiasts that her distance was just short of a half marathon. It was with this in mind that she set herself the challenge of rowing a full marathon, more than 40,000m.
Having raised more than £200 above her initial target, Coun Salt said that she wanted to thank everyone who contributed and supported her.
She said: “I'm really passionate about the Community Zone. They haven't been able to do their usual fundraising so I thought it would be good to give something back.”