A Skiff kit for nothing*

* There is a catch!

Skiffie Worlds has inspired one old newspaper hack to start something new. Maxwell Macleod was the first journalist to pick up on the St Ayles back in 2009. Now he wants to use the Skiff to improve the lives of Type 2 Diabetes patients. In his own words – and some of them are not easy reading…

Two years ago I was a fat journalist with a Mother who had died in my arms from a heart attack, quite possibly brought on by the fact she was a diabetic (Type 2) so you would have thought I would be wise enough to lose weight and take some exercise, and so reduce my chances of following her.

Wrong on both accounts, so almost inevitably I had my own heart attack and developed Type 2 Diabetes.

D2 is a bloody horrible condition. It greatly increases your chance of blindness, losing limbs, heart attack, and stroke. I’m sixty seven. If I don’t look after myself, statistically I have a very high chance of not seeing my mid-seventies. And I’m not alone. There are perhaps three million people either with Diabetes 2 or standing a very good chance of acquiring it in England Wales alone. If we don’t do something about it as a nation there’s a good chance it will bankrupt the NHS. None of this is in any way exaggerated.

But I personally did indeed do something about it. Lost two stone in a couple of months (ruddy nightmare but it worked!) and now take an hour’s exercise a day. And it’s in remission. Probably come back and bite me in the arse eventually, and I may join the four hundred and fifty odd D2 sufferers who are losing toes or limbs each week in England and Wales.  Like I say it’s a horrible condition.

But there is hope. New research suggests that if you do lose weight very fast (under medical supervision) you may well do as I did and put it into remission.

Those of us who have managed this are called the XD2ers. I am launching the XD2 club for them.

It’s a harsh old business. If you fall off the wagon you are out of the club. Expelled. This is not a club for fat people who are hoping to get rid of the weight and join us. We are the elite. We made it. Hope you can join us. Very good wishes, but the SAS don’t have people in their ranks because they are sorry for them. Life is tough. Dying early is tough. Going blind is a nightmare. We XD2ers are doing our level best to avoid such things.  And giving others a target to join us. We are not after your sympathy. We are not disabled, indeed many of us are fitter than we have ever been in our lives.

So, anyhow. Skiff rowing. What’s the connection? Well we XD2ers have two things we have to fight against. Firstly, getting fat again and secondly not keeping at the top level of fitness.

Neither will guarantee that we remain in remission, but they sure as hell will increase the odds in our favour. So, we are raising money to build our own skiff. Well it won’t be our own, it will belong to a club. The deal is we raise most of the cash to build it, hand the cash over to a club (ideally within an hour of Edinburgh) on the understanding that we can use it for XD2 demo races at regattas for four week ends a year. 

Oh, and the boat has to be called the XD2. The concept is that those XD2ers from all over the country who want to keep fit do so at their own clubs and are then invited to row with the XD2.

But we need an associate club. It could be anywhere in the Edinburgh area. They get the cash, or most of it, to build the boat which is theirs but have to allow us to use it for our demo regattas.

We have had a lot of support from across the Skiffie community, but so far no offers from clubs. 

So, there’s the deal.  If interested, as Paul Macartney put it, send me a post card, drop me a line, indicate precisely what you mean to say. 

And maybe we can do business.

Maxwell MacLeod
Dowies Mill House
Dowies Mill Lane
Edinburgh EH4 6DW.
07908 870604


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