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Peabody repairs director rowing for charity in memory of late chair Lord Kerslake

Rowing boat

Neil Watts, Group Director of Repairs and Maintenance at Peabody, will take part in a charity row down the river Thames in memory of Lord Bob Kerslake.

Published: 19/07/2023

Neil will lead a team of five on a 200km-row from Reading, through London, and onto Leigh-on-Sea starting on Monday 24 July on behalf of the not-for-profit housing association. 

The Peabody chair sadly passed away after a short battle with cancer earlier this month.  

In a statement, its chief executive Ian McDermott said: “Everyone who knew Bob was truly inspired by his exceptional talent, strong work ethic, and above all, his humanity and kindness to everyone he met. He was a remarkable individual who worked tirelessly to improve people's lives and to stand up for what is right.  

“His absence will be deeply felt across Peabody, as well as in the sector and public life in general. Our thoughts are with his wife Anne and his family.” 

To continue Bob’s inspiring work, and honour his dedication to tackling homelessness, Neil will row for St Mungo’s - a charity close to Bob’s heart. The charity aims to end homelessness and rough sleeping and change lives for the better, supporting more than 3,150 people every night.  

Neil and his team will navigate a busy urban environment on the five-day row, with 20 locks, heavy boat traffic, bridges, and potentially difficult weather conditions. They will be drawing on Peabody’s core values to help them on their journey - being kind to each other, loving new ideas, keeping promises, doing the right thing, and pulling together to pass the finish line. 

All money raised will go directly to the charity. To donate to this worthwhile cause, visit the Just Giving page.

Talking about his upcoming his expedition, Neil said: “I’m really excited to be taking part in this charity row, supporting St Mungo’s and our late chair, Bob.  

“It’s important to Peabody that we continue his incredible work, so choosing a charity that’s dedicated to ending homelessness is the perfect fit.  

“Thank you all for any generous support you can offer. Let's join together in memory of Bob and his tremendous career of service”.  

Reta Robinson, Director of Fundraising at St Mungo's said: "On behalf of everyone at St Mungo's, we were deeply saddened to learn of the devastating passing of Lord Bob Kerslake. Bob was a dedicated champion of the homelessness sector, with a deep-rooted commitment to end rough sleeping.  

"We are extremely touched by Neil and the team fundraising for St Mungo's whilst remembering Lord Kerslake's life and legacy. We wish them all the best for the row and will be cheering them on." 

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