Chorley men help raise nearly £200,000 for children's charity with 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic

Two Brinscall men and their friends have completed the world's toughest rowing challenge, raising almost £200,000 for charity in the process.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:45 pm

Army veteran Jason Kerr and Dean Frost, took on the 3,000 mile Talisker Whisky Challenge across the Atlantic with friends Mac McCarthy and Philip Bigland in support of children's charity Action Medical Research.

The team trained for 18 months to fulfil the 3,000 mile unsupported rowing race which will saw them row in continuous shifts of two hours' rowing, two hours' sleep.

Father-of-two Jason, who now lives in Surrey, said: "I've been very fortunate to have children who were born without complications. However, I have close friends who have been through the devastation, the fears and mental scars that premature birth leaves behind."

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The journey

They set out on their voyage from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12 and completed the crossing in 41 days, 2 hours and 44 minutes.

Their 28ft boat - Elijah’s Star - was the 17th in the fleet of 35 to reach their destination in Antigua.

They had hoped to have made the crossing in 37 days, but the team battled extreme winds, scorching temperatures, painful blisters and severe sleep deprivation. As well as experiencing issues with the boat’s battery power in their fourth week at sea which involved careful power management for the last leg of the journey.

The team on arriving at the finish line. Credit: Elijah's Star

Commenting on their finish, the team said: "We are so happy to be here in Antigua and just want to thank everyone for all your support not only over the last six weeks but for the last 18 months whilst we've been planning and preparing for this mad adventure.

"It's been an emotional few days, brilliant to see our families again and catch up with other TWAC teams. Boat admin done, now for a few weeks R&R!"

Elijah

The boat carries the names of over a thousand premature babies and was named after baby called Elijah from Sheffield, who was born at 25 weeks and three days, weighing 823g and who sadly lived for just 37 days.

The team on Christmas Day, sailing in the Atlantic. Credit: Atlantic Campaigns

“We are in absolute awe of the strength the Elijah’s Star team have shown over the past six weeks and are so touched that they did this in our son’s memory,” said Elijah’s mum Jenny.

“Following the team’s journey across the Atlantic has brought our family so much joy and their determination to help fund life-saving research is inspirational. Action Medical Research fund amazing research and we hope that the money raised through this challenge can make a difference so that other babies’ lives won’t be cut so painfully short.”

Action Medical Research

Lewis Coghlin, fundraising director at Action Medical Research said: “Everyone at Action is so grateful to the team for completing this incredible challenge in Elijah’s memory.

"Action helps fund vital research for sick babies and children, some of which looks into the causes of premature birth and the complications that can arise from it. We hope that through more research into premature birth and pregnancy complications we will be able to change things for the future and save more lives. Thank you to the team and to everyone who has donated to Elijah’s Star’s Atlantic challenge.”

The challenge

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the premier event in ocean racing and is recognised as the world's toughest row, covering more than 3,000 miles between the start in the Canary Islands and the end point in Nelsons Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda.

To honour Elijah’s short life and the team’s incredible journey, you can still donate to their Just Giving page here.