Maidstone Invicta RC receives milestone defibrillator donation

This is the 25th of these potentially life-saving pieces of equipment that national charity RALPHH has provided to amateur sporting venues


L-R: Robin Chapman, Oliver Barton, Anne Salmon, Richard Allen, Harry Salmon and Richard Huggins.

RALPHH’s Chairman Richard Allen presented the defibrillator to Anne Salmon, Vice-President and Membership Secretary of Maidstone Invicta RC. Anne said: “We are extremely grateful to the charity RALPHH for gifting the defibrillator to the club. Obviously we hope that we never have to use it but it is very reassuring that we now have one on site. As well as being available for our own members and visitors it is also extremely helpful to have our own defibrillator for when we host competitors from other clubs at our local Head races. I would certainly urge other clubs who currently do not have a machine to contact the charity. Richard was very helpful and the work of the charity is truly a great memorial to Robert Allen.”

RALPHH (Robert Allen Life Promotion and Healthy Hearts Trust) was formed in memory of Robert Allen, a volunteer rowing coach and previous National Schools Champion who died unexpectedly of a previously unrecognised heart condition as a young adult. His family and friends decided to establish the charity, which has been active in providing defibrillation equipment funding and gifts to sports such as hockey, rugby and sailing, but with rowing schools and clubs being the largest group of recipients.

“Rowing is a great sport,” said Richard Allen, “and it is important that more people have the chance to participate and enjoy the special camaraderie. But – just like many other sports – the unexpected can happen and it is right that the proper equipment is available should someone have a heart or
circulatory problem either on the water or in the gym.”

Maidstone Invicta RC, based on the River Medway in Kent, close to Maidstone town centre was formed in 1984, on a site which was at that time part of the Royal Engineers’ Barracks. The club has around 160 members, ranging in age from 11 to over 80 and is actively involved in encouraging more young people to take up the sport and has links with several local schools. It is is also organising three “Learn to Row” classes in 2024, aimed at adults who want to get back into rowing or have their first experience of rowing as part of a crew. Two head races that it runs on its stretch draw competitors from across the south east.