The OAPs have been putting the younger generations to shame during the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw the late Captain Sir Tom Moore set himself a challenge of walking 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday last April raising millions for NHS charities and becoming the nation’s sweetheart. On 6 February 2021, 70-year-old Frank Rothwell completed his own personal challenge of rowing unaided across the Atlantic Ocean.
Although he is no stranger to challenging situations having appeared as one of the contestants on the fourth series of The Island with Bear Grylls which focused on the generational divide of the island inhabitants. Rothwell, who lives in Oldham with his wife, Judith, to whom he has been married for 50 years, had never rowed in his life before he started his training for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. His vessel, nicknamed ‘Never Too Old’ weighed one tonne and during training, Rothwell would row 70 miles in two days.
A self described ‘doer’ who started working at the age of 13 and went on to become the founder of Manchester Cabins in 1979, self funded the journey and all funds raised are being donated to Alzheimer’s Research UK. Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has pledged to match the first £500,000 donations which should see Rothwell exceed his goal of raising £1 million.
The 3,000 mile journey took Rothwell six weeks to complete, arriving earlier than anticipated in Antigua where he was met by Judith in time for Valentine’s Day. He has since received confirmation that he has broken the world record of oldest man to row unaided across the Atlantic Ocean. His 62-year-old brother-in-law, the inspiration for choosing the charity, sadly passed away with Alzheimer’s during the journey.
Moore and Rothwell have proved that age is just a number and that challenges whether big or small, personal or fundraising are doable.
You can still donate via Rothwell’s Just Giving Page