In 2003 Perrier Best Newcomer Nominee Tim FitzHigham decided to attempt to raise some money for Comic Relief...
His plan: to take a paper boat as far as possible down the River Thames and attempt to break a world maritime record that had stood unbroken for 383 years.
On March 12th 2003 at precisely 1pm Tim FitzHigham glided under Tower Bridge to become the first man in history to take a paper boat 160 miles down the Thames - breaking the record set by the eccentric Jacobian poet and Queens Waterman John Taylor in 1619. By the last day the Royal Navy, RNLI, London Ports Authority, BBC, London Fire Service and the Harbourmaster had all joined in; the Thames was closed to all other shipping for the event and as he went under the famous bridge the Thames Fire Ships (used at Churchill's Funeral) sent triumphant fountains of water up into the air as he glided into land at the safety of HMS President.
The Paper Boat has already raised £1000s for Comic Relief (the money is still coming in), created an incredible story of eight days on the river and gained a following all over the world with countries as far away as New Zealand and America supporting the paper boat (the finish was globally televised). Tim has received letters of support from such diverse people as a postman, a primary school class and H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. In December 2003 Tim was offered Honorary Freedom of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames which necessitates him also being granted the Freedom of the City of London by redemption. The Paper boat will be on display at the National Maritime Museum from January 2005.