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Anglo Welsh hero takes on the world’s toughest rowing challenge for charity

It would be fair to say that Anglo Welsh’s Ian Davies has never been one to shirk a challenge, and the 58-year-old former serviceman has always been a go-getter for charity. In 2009 he drove a one-litre car to Mongolia and in 2013 he swam the Solent. Then just one week after swimming the English Channel in 2014 he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.

Ian takes up the story. “I received 18 months of treatment and had a transplant on my 55th birthday. Fortunately, I am now in remission. At the end of 2015 it was time to prove to myself that I was still capable of regaining my fitness and raising funds for people less fortunate than myself, so I entered the DART10, an endurance swim down the River Dart from Totnes to Dittisham.”

“Having completed that I decided that a long-term challenge was the way forward to raise significant monies for some great charities. So how about rowing the Atlantic?!”

Now Ian and a bunch of five hardy mates known as The Atlantic Mavericks are preparing for The Atlantic Challenge, the premier event in ocean rowing that takes competitors more than 3,000 miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda. Not for nothing is it known as “the world’s toughest row”.

The epic race begins in early December, with up to 30 teams participating from around the world. All with the same objective – to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat and to raise money for charities.

These days Ian plies his trade as a highly skilled marine engineer at Anglo Welsh’s base in Trevor, North Wales, but as an ex-Warrant Officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, he put together his Atlantic Mavericks from the ranks of fellow ex-servicemen.

“It takes a certain kind of person to keep going when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation,” admits Ian. “It’s no surprise then that more people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic!”

“Being retired servicemen we are thankful that we have had full and rewarding careers. We have been lucky and made good transitions from military to civilian life, but this is not the case for everyone. We therefore want to support the Royal British Legion in helping those who have been less fortunate, and we also want to support Myeloma UK in their great work combating bone marrow disease.”

Anglo Welsh's sponsorship will go towards the purchase of vital equipment such as a VHF radio or a desalinator which the crew will use to make all their own water during the arduous Atlantic crossing. "Ian is a valued member of the Anglo Welsh family, and we felt moved by his story and the courageous strength of all the Atlantic Mavericks. We are happy we are able to support the team in such a good cause. We wish them all the best!" 

To find out more about The Atlantic Challenge or to sponsor Ian and his team, go to www.atlanticmavericks.com