Rowing challenge to raise funds for clean-water wells in Africa

Kelly Jones is to fight through an injury and take on a challenge to help fund clean sources of water
Kelly Jones is to fight through an injury and take on a challenge to help fund clean sources of water

Kelly Jones is to fight through an injury and take on a challenge to help fund clean sources of water and care for children in Africa.

Across a five hour static rowing session at Pure Gym in central Harrogate Kelly is aiming to hit the 26 mile mark on July 22 to raise £1,000 for the Vancouver based Obakki Foundation.

Dedicated to improving access to water and supporting orphans the charity works across areas such as South Sudan. Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. It is a cause close to Kelly's heart and has driven her through the return of an old knee injury.

Mrs Jones said: "The charity work with the St Valentine's Orphanage, giving the support that children need. Many of them have nobody and have lost family through conflict. They care and educate them and are also able to put in and maintain wells across Africa.

"Mothers and their daughters have to walk up to five miles just to get water. I just think that in this day and age that is appalling when we have access so easily across the world.

"I have a son in a wheelchair and it can be hard, but we have the resources of the NHS and the support around us."

Damaging her knee playing rugby union six years ago Kelly suffered a flare up when she initially began training to support the charity.

Originally aiming to run the Manchester Marathon in April she was told by her doctor that she should instead look to training in other sports to prevent further problems.

Rowing was at the bottom of Kelly's list of alternative choice, often giving the rowing machine a wide berth when she goes to the gym. Now she hopes that the chance to help the Obakki Foundation while challenging herself will encourage generous donors to support her cause.

Mrs Jones said:"I am just not a natural rower, and my trainer has told me that I am definitely not. But I have kept on working on my form and I think that is an important part of this.I did not want people to give me money for something that is easy.

"It is going to be hard and a real challenge, but that is what I wanted from this. When I am thinking if I can keep it up I will think of the women and children, and here I am in an air conditioned room. It is not a big deal in comparison."

Previously Kelly has collected toys, clothing shoes and other items, donating them to charity in December 23 last year. Kelly was helped by her daughter, who helped to collect and donate the items. The opportunity to support the Obakki Foundation is hoped to be a further chance to teach her children a lesson in caring for those in need.

"My 12 year old daughter told me this was such a nice thing to do and I saw this would be an incredible opportunity to teach both my children how important it really is.

"When I have been out with my son people have been lovely to us, they did not want anything but to help. It just was a light bulb moment. This kind of kindness I was shown has made me just want to give back."

You can keep track of her progress and on the day watch videos that are posted of her hours long challenge by following her on Twitter by searching @JellyButtJones.

To donate funds towards of Kelly you can visit her page at

You can also contact her directly on Twitter if you are unable to make a donation through her Obakki page or Paypal.