Rowing back the years to beat cancer

Anne Yates
Anne Yates

A retired rowing champion from Northampton, who is suffering from cancer, has taken up her sport again to raise funds for research into the illness.

Anne Yates, from Kingsthorpe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer four months ago, has not raced since February 2008, when she won a bronze medal at the World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston, USA.

The 56-year-old has now set herself the challenge of racing at four major indoor rowing events to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

She wants to raise funds for research after taking part in a clinical trial, to test whether hormone therapy before, as well as after, surgery improves the outcome for post-menopausal women with breast cancer.

She said: “There’s no history of cancer in my family so I was completely shocked when I was diagnosed.

“My consultant, having confirmed my cancer diagnosis, invited me to join the trial. He also explained to me, the treatment I was due to receive was simply not available even two years ago, thereby reinforcing the need for continued research into cancer.

“I thought ‘wow, aren’t I lucky’. Thank goodness for such wonderful scientists and doctors.”

She added: “The researchers can’t do their job without funding and rowing is what I do best.

“Today’s research becomes tomorrow’s treatment and, with that, new hope.”

Paula Young, spokeswoman for the Cancer Research UK charity in Northampton, said: “Cancer Research UK relies entirely on voluntary donations to fund its life-saving research so we’re enormously grateful to Anne for her hard work and wish her every bit of success with her fund-raising.”

Last month Anne Yates completed her first one-mile indoor rowing competition in Grimsby, rowing one-handed because surgery had left her weak down one side. Anne, who has raised around £900 so far, will race again at the next championship event in Newark in November, at the Welsh Championships in Cardiff in December, and will end her challenge in January when she competes in the English Championships in Manchester.

To sponsor Anne for the events visit