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A message from Pete Rowlands:
"Our attempt to row around the UK has been brought to an abrupt end due to adverse weather conditions 0n the East coast, coupled with the fact that both our VHF communication systems had failed and our essential water maker had a serious leak, we were left with no other choice but to call the challenge off and head to Lowestoft for the boat to be recovered. Many thanks for all the message of support received."
We would like to say a big thank you to the team for attempting this difficult challenge on our behalf. We are pleased that everyone is OK.
Gareth Rowlands died from meningitis in 2003 when he was 16. This year he would have been 25, the same age as the Trust. In his memory, this June, his father, Pete, from East Yorkshire, will mark both occasions by taking on the most difficult race in the world; rowing around the UK non-stop and unsupported.
The team were originally signed up to participate in the official Virgin GB Row 2011 race, however due to lack of participants Virgin and the Anglo American Boat Race Company (AABR) cancelled the event.
Not wanting to disappoint their charities, the Trust and BLESMA, the four men will attempt to break the world record, even without the support of Virgin and the AABR Company.
The team is aiming to break the current record of 26 days, 21 hours and 14 minutes, set in 2005.
Pete won’t be alone and will be joined by Mark Waterson, John Mollison and Dave Hartley – all of whom work in the forces.
Team mate, John Mollison, lost a leg when a mine exploded two days after the end of hostilities in the Falklands – he will become the first amputee to row around the UK.
To-date, along with friends, they have already raised in excess of £280,000 in Gareth’s memory. We have supported Pete and his family through our counselling and community support.
Pete say's; "The counselling support was outstanding and allowed us to better understand our grief and loss. How ironic then that the Trust celebrates its 25th anniversary the same year that Gareth would have celebrated his 25th birthday. The challenges that my family, friends and I have been involved with to-date would have all been right up Gareth’s street - he had a taste for anything sporty or adventurous. I’m sure that he would have relished the next challenge that we undertake in his memory and would have thanked all my friends that have supported us to-date".
You can follow the team’s progress when they set off from Scarborough by visiting their website www.commando-joe.com. They hope to have a daily updates. If you would like to donate to their efforts visit http://bit.ly/CommandoJoe.
You can hear their latest updates from ipadio here:
In previous years, Pete and his colleagues have taken on some of the world’s other toughest challenges; in 2005 they trekked to the Magnetic North Pole; in 2006 they rowed the North Atlantic (from New York to Mevagissey, Cornwall), non-stop and unsupported in 83 days; and in 2008 they ran the Gobi Desert Ultra Marathon Challenge (running 150 miles across some of the most inhospitable lands in seven days).
If you're interested in organising your own fundraising event, check out our online guide How to Organise Your Own fundraising