AN appeal to raise £25,000 to keep Regatta Radio on the air has almost reached the halfway mark.
More than £10,000 has been raised in a week since the fundraising drive was launched and the station’s directors say they are confident they will raise the remaining funds by their deadline of Monday.
The appeal was launched after the pop-up station’s major sponsor Invesco Perpetual withdrew its support, saying Regatta Radio did not meet its new funding criteria.
A fundraising dinner on Thursday last week raised more than £9,000 while online donations have totalled £1,730 so far. Station chairman Peter McConnell said: “That gets us almost halfway. We are pretty confident that we will get the rest of the way there.
“We very much want people to carry on contributing as it makes a real difference.
“We want to be able to see if we can scale it down a little bit but we want to be able to provide as good a service as we have always done.”
Robert Treharne Jones, head of commentators, said: “Things are moving in the right direction but we are not out of the woods yet.
“With eight weeks to go before the start of the regatta, we are now up against it in terms of ordering the equipment needed for the station.”
About 100 supporters attended the dinner at Leander Club.
Guests included club captain and double Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood, Team GB rowers Will Satch, Pete Reed and Louise Reeve and TV presenter Steve Rider.
Guests bought a balloon for £10 each in exchange for a small raffle prize and bottles of champagne signed by members of Team GB were auctioned. There was also a silent auction and a game of heads or tails.
The top bid in the auction was £1,000 to have a go in a quad scull with Reeve, Fran Houghton and Vicky Meyer-Laker.
Mr McConnell said: “I played some audio and reminded the audience what Regatta Radio sounded like and also of the deathly silence that there would be if there was no Regatta Radio.
“For people at home, in their cars or listening online, the regatta would be a very different experience without it.
“Thank you to people for helping to keep it alive. The whole rowing community has been Tweeting about it and the fundraising evening has opened up some new conversations with people that may lead to some greater sponsorship.”
Regatta Radio has been broadcasting since 2006 and has covered every race since 2009.
It is on air for 10 days, starting with the qualifying races and finishing after the prize-giving ceremony.
The station broadcasts on 87.7 FM and listeners can pick it up on their radios within a six-mile radius of the course as well on the internet around the world.
Regatta Radio has set up a fund-raising website and has offered “perks” for different sums that are donated. Anyone giving £10 will be listed on a wall of fame on the station’s website and those offering £50 will receive an earpiece pre-tuned to the station.
The first 25 people who donate £100 will receive a Regatta Radio T-shirt and those who donate £250 will be invited to attend fundraising dinners in London or Henley with a chance to meet Olympic medallists and members of the GB rowing team.
For more information and to make a donation, visit http://igg.me/at/rr2014