Veterans

Major Mick Completes Charity Rowing Challenge In Homemade Boat 'Tintanic'

The Army veteran took on the challenge in the "Tintanic" which is made out of corrugated iron and wood.

An 80-year-old retired Army major has raised more than £30,000 for charity by rowing 100 miles in his homemade boat, the "Tintanic".

Major Michael Stanley, known as 'Major Mick', served in The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for 35 years and was welcomed at Chichester Basin by his 10-year-old grandson Toby Liddiard with a rendition of Drunken Sailor on the trumpet.

So far, Mr Stanley has smashed his £1,000 target by raising more than £33,000 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Bosham, West Sussex.

During the challenge, the veteran, who has been travelling at a speed of 2mph twice a week for three months, celebrated his 80th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary.

He said: "I am very pleased to have done it but I shall miss the chitchat, the laughter and the banter I have had with the people on the towpath.

"But I won’t be so sorry to miss the weather which has been a bit wet and cold."

The hospice will be selling the "Tintanic", complete with bailing bucket, through an eBay auction.

He said the trips had been perfect for remaining sociable during COVID-19 restrictions.

"I will miss not meeting people," he said. "Nothing could be better for talking to people that are keeping a distance from the boat, there’s no way they can get near you.”

He added: "The boat has done very well, it still leaks a bit but with the flexibility of the corrugated iron and wood, I am unable to completely eradicate that.

"As for me, I am doing pretty well. I have a bit of stiffness in my fingers, whether this is a normal old age thing or to do with the rowing, I do not know, but no blisters."

Mr Stanley calculated he has, in fact, completed 105 miles and would have made 105,000 oar strokes during the challenge, saying: "That’s pretty awesome."

His fundraising page can be found here.

Cover image: Mr Stanley rowing on the Chichester Canal (Picture: PA).