Accountants from a Birmingham firm have made waves for Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity, by embarking on a charity challenge which saw them row the distance from Birmingham to Venice in just 24 hours. 

The team at Prime Accountants Group took turns on rowing machines set up at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull, with the support of clients, family and friends. Together, they covered the mammoth 798-mile distance between the two canal cities and managed to raise over an incredible £14,000. 

In total, 78 fundraisers completed the challenge in 288 half-hour stints, as shoppers passed by and added their pounds to the collection buckets.  

The money raised will go towards the charity’s £1.5m iMRI Appeal, to fund a vital new intraoperative MRI (iMRI) scanner for the hospital’s operating theatre. The technology will enable surgeons - operating on patients with brain tumours or epilepsy - to see live MRI scan images during surgery, which could reduce the time a patient is under anaesthetic and give surgeons the confidence that the operation has been a success. 

This epic row is the first of five charity initiatives which the Prime team plans to complete over the next 12 months for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. 

Leigh Dudley, director at Prime Accountants, said: “It was a long 24 hours for those involved in the row, but we’re so proud of everyone’s commitment and hard work.  

“The atmosphere was brilliant, with so many people volunteering to row and supporters cheering us on, offering great encouragement.  

“We always try and go the extra mile to raise money for local charities, so this time we did that literally – covering nearly 800 miles is an incredible achievement. 

“We have offices in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull, so Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is an important cause close to us which we have been proud to support for the past five years.” 

Katie Harris, corporate partnerships officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are always blown away by the Prime team's commitment to fundraising – they are always keen to take on crazy challenges to help us in our efforts to provide the vital care our patients need.  

“This year's fundraising activity will go directly towards our iMRI Appeal. Our hospital is home to one of the largest paediatric neurosurgical centres in the UK, but we are the only one without leading-edge intraoperative MRI technology.  

“With this technology, an MRI scanner is moved directly to a patient on an operating table, or a patient to the scanner, to ensure surgeons can obtain ‘live’ and up-to-date information about the position of a tumour. It will transform brain surgery and epilepsy surgery for children at our hospital. 

“The efforts of the Prime team will play a big role in our fundraising activities for this vital piece of equipment.”