PARALYMPIC Gold medalist Naomi Riches MBE will row along the River Thames through Oxfordshire aiming to set a new Guinness World Record.

Her challenge will begin in Lechlade on Saturday, September 17, and she'll row through Oxford, stopping at Northmoor and Iffley Locks then on to Henley where she will continue the 165-mile journey to Gravesend Royal Pier.

The current world record for the fastest time to row the River Thames by single scull is held by Malcolm Knight who in April 2005 completed it in 43 hours, 40 minutes and 56 seconds.

At just eight weeks old Miss Riches, now 33, was diagnosed with a rare eye condition call Cone Dystrophy and with no functioning cones on her retina she has no colour vision and is extremely light sensitive. She also has nystagmus which makes it hard to focus, particularly on moving objects as her eyes are involuntarily and constantly moving.

She said: "At school I was known as the ‘the blind girl’ which was frustrating and hurtful. More than anything else in my life I wanted to be known as Naomi Riches and not be defined by my disability. I want to be known for what I am able to do, not what I cannot do."

She's raising money for IN-vision, the registered charity she became Patron of in 2014, whose aim is to further research into Infantile Nystagmus which affects 1 in 1,000 and is the most common form of serious visual impairment in children.

Faringdon & District Rotary and its Youth projects and Interact Club will be supporting the launch in Lechlade and hope the public will join them at The New Inn at 4pm in good time to give Naomi a rousing send-off.

If you're unable to get to Lechlade, you can cheer her on from the bridges. Approximate timings are: St John’s Lock 4.57pm, Buscot Lock 5.15pm, The Swan, Radcot Bridge 6.30pm, The Trout, Tadpole Bridge, Buckland Marsh 7.15pm Rose Revived, Newbridge 8.30pm.

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