Ex-para grandfathers become oldest pair to row Atlantic


Two grandfathers with a combined age of more than 120 have become the oldest pair to row across an ocean.

Former paratroopers Neil Young and Peter Ketley set off on the 3,000-mile journey across the Atlantic from La Gomera in the Canary Islands in December.

The military veterans, who rowed as the Grandads of the Atlantic team and have a combined age of 123, reached English Harbour in Antigua on Wednesday after 63 days and 22 minutes at sea.

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It makes them the oldest team of two to row across any ocean, beating the previous combined age of 120 set by Pat Hines and Liz Dycus in 2016.

The friends of more than 40 years joined 27 other teams competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, dubbed the world’s toughest row.

Before their year-long training regime the Sandhurst Military College graduates had no rowing experience.

Mr Young and Mr Ketley, whose tours of duty included Northern Ireland and the Falklands, have raised more than £30,000 for the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), Dreams Come True and Support Our Paras.

Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge
Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Mr Young, 61, from Bracknell in Berkshire, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be able to play a role in supporting Royal British Legion Industries in what is the most important year in their history – and we very much look forward to seeing how they will improve the lives of the armed forces veterans with the funds raised.”

Mr Ketley, 62, from Denmead in Hampshire, said: “The challenge was an incredibly difficult but ultimately rewarding experience.

“Needless to say there were challenging times battling headwinds, significant waves and sore bodies, but knowing we were helping people in desperate need of support certainly perked us up at the low points.”

The RBLI is celebrating 100 years of support for veterans and the disabled and said the cash will go towards supporting its plans for a Centenary Village – a £14 million development of specially adapted accommodation for injured ex-service personnel with an on-site community centre, which the charity says will set them up for another 100 years of veteran care.

Launching in 2019 to celebrate our centenary year, we have exciting visions for our brand new centenary village! This will provide support for 100 veterans for the next 100 years. Learn more from RBLI's Chief Executive, Steve Sherry! https://t.co/lgoUzIJiw9pic.twitter.com/e2i3VjEv50

— R.B.L.I. (@RBLI) February 12, 2019

Lisa Farmer, director of strategic development at RBLI, said: “We’ve followed the monumental journey of Neil and Peter over the last 63 days and we’re very proud to have them among our supporters.

“Breaking the world record and raising such a substantial amount is testament to their unwavering bravery and support for their fellow veterans.”

To donate visit http://Tinyurl.com/grandadsatlantic