A grandfather has become the oldest person to single-handedly row 3,000 miles over the Atlantic Ocean, raising more than £640,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
Seventy-year-old Frank Rothwell set off from Canary Island La Gomera on December 12th and crossed the finish line in Antigua in the Caribbean last Saturday — reuniting with Judith, his wife of 50 years.
He said crossing the finish line was a “completely euphoric moment” as he raised £648,000 for Alzheimer’s research in tribute to his brother-in-law Roger, who died with the disease aged 62 during his row.
“While rowing, I received heart-breaking 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,” said Rothwell. “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.”
The charitable foundation of the supermarket chain Iceland Foods has pledged to double the first £500,000 of donations. The company’s founder Sir Malcolm Walker said he had known Rothwell for many years and “knew his determination to complete a challenge would get him this far.”
Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re incredibly moved by Frank’s determination to raise £1m for dementia research. By taking on such a monumental challenge at 70 years old, he has helped to spread awareness and inspired people of all ages to take on their own challenges.”