Grandfather becomes oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo across Atlantic


A grandfather has turn into the oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo across the Atlantic Ocean, raising more than £640,000 for dementia analysis.

Frank Rothwell, 70, from Oldham, set off from La Gomera within the Canary Islands on 12 December and crossed the end line in Antigua within the Caribbean on Saturday – reuniting with Judith, his spouse of fifty years, in good time for Valentine’s Day.

He mentioned crossing the end line was a “completely euphoric moment” as he raised greater than £648,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK in tribute to his brother-in-law Roger, who died with Alzheimer’s aged 62 throughout his journey.

Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has pledged to double the primary £500,000 of donations.

Rothwell went on: “I felt quite emotional approaching the finish. It took six long weeks to row the Atlantic, but the challenge itself has taken over 18 months of training and preparation, so I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and the unbelievable journey I’ve been on.

“While rowing, I received heartbreaking messages from people who have had similar experiences to my own, with my brother-in-law, Roger, so I hope I’ve helped other families in some way too.

Frank Rothwell during his record-breaking row Photograph: Ben Duffy/Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge/PA

“I’d like to thank everyone who has reached into their pockets and donated. Having the support from so many means the world to me. Thank you.”

The adventurer has beforehand spent 5 weeks on a abandoned island for a Bear Grylls TV programme, and rowed in a ship nicknamed Never Too Old.

Iceland Foods founder Sir Malcolm Walker added: “I’ve known Frank for many years, so I knew his determination to complete a challenge would get him this far. But seeing the heartwarming and generous support he’s receiving from the public is astounding.”

Hilary Evans, chief government of Alzheimer’s Research UK, mentioned: “We’re incredibly moved by Frank’s determination to raise £1m for dementia research. By taking on such a monumental challenge at 70 years old, he has helped to spread awareness and inspired people of all ages to take on their own challenges.

“To bring about life-changing treatments for dementia, fundraising efforts from ordinary people like Frank and his supporters provide a crucial lifeline to the progression of our research.”



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