Many of us feel a great pull towards adventure. The thrill of pushing your limits physically, the closeness to nature, the rush of pride once you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. Though such a calling is not for everyone, one boat enthusiast is proving that you can’t put an age limit on adventure.
Frank Rothwell is 70 years old and has just set a new record as the oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo across the Atlantic Ocean. As a participant in the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, Frank committed to the row to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The challenge, known as “The World’s Toughest Row,” is an opportunity for ordinary adventurers to push their limits, all while raising money for the charity of their choice.
“I have an opportunity to dedicate 18 months of my life to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK,” Frank’s bio reads on the Atlantic Challenge website. “I am funding this expensive adventure myself so 100% of all donations will go direct to this truly worthwhile charity.” Despite having a knee replacement in 2019 and beating prostate cancer a decade ago, Frank was confident that “my positive adventurous attitude, my strength and my vast sailing experience” would guide him to the finish line and help him break the record for the oldest person to row the Atlantic.
On December 12th of 2020, Frank started his journey from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. In just over 8 weeks, after fighting the choppy seas and eating more than 500,000 freeze-dried calories, Frank crossed the finish line in Antigua in the Caribbean on February 6th, 2021. “I felt quite emotional approaching the finish,” Frank said. “I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and the unbelievable journey I’ve been on.”
Throughout the duration of his row, Frank had raised more than £648,000, around $800,000, in honor of his late brother-in-law, Roger, who passed with Alzheimer’s at age 62. Frank has now raised over £800,000, which converts to about 1 million US dollars, with the donations continuing to grow even after crossing the finish line. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Not only will Alzheimer’s Research UK receive the already amazing donation from Frank’s fundraising, but Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has pledged to double the first £500,000 of donations. Sir Malcolm Walker, Iceland Foods founder, said, “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.”
According to Frank’s fundraising website, “Frank has approximately £55k left to raise in order to secure the full match-funding pledge of £500k from Iceland Foods Charitable Foundations and achieve his target of £1m from Alzheimer’s Research UK! Let’s help him get there!” Watch below to see Frank as he crosses the finish line!
Frank completed his truly epic challenge of rowing the Atlantic Ocean solo on Saturday. The 70-year-old from Oldham spent 56 days at sea and has raised a huge amount for Alzheimer's Research UK. What a hero! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/frankrothwell
Posted by Alzheimer's Research UK on Monday, February 8, 2021