Last month, furniture designer Ben Fowler (Fowler & Co), a freeman of The Furniture Makers' Company, raised £1766 for the charity by rowing 22 miles of the River Thames in the renamed Great River Race.
Known as 'London’s other marathon', this year's Great River Race was renamed the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Pageant. It followed the race’s traditional route, starting in Greenwich and finishing in Richmond.
Although no official times were taken this year, Ben and his crew rowed the 22 miles in an impressive two hours and 45 minutes.
A lifelong rower and boat lover, Ben’s passion for the sport led him to spend two years working for Mark Edwards MBE, boatbuilder to the Queen, learning boatbuilding from him after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1984.
Ben says: “It was a very convivial and friendly day, as it always is. Thank you for all your support. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, as I believe the Queen would have, she was a great lover of boats. Hence her delight in receiving Gloriana [built by Mark for the Queen’s 2012 Jubilee]. Indeed, she took Mark and various other key people who designed and built her out on the river in Windsor for a row and cup of tea.”
Ben’s firsthand knowledge of boatbuilding informs many of his designs today. Working from a workshop in Newhaven, East Sussex, Ben’s company Fowler & Co offers a complete furniture design and manufacture service, from bespoke joinery to consultancy on architectural projects and product prototyping. Ben has won numerous Design Guild Marks, with his first awarded in 2014 for his Hat Tree.