When getting older doesn’t mean a thing – Meet Frank Rothwell

Frank Rothwell is seventy years old. He has made the famously difficult Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge look easy. He rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, raising a massive amount (£1 million at time of writing) for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and he is an inspiration for us all. Never assume that someone with seven full decades of life behind them is not strong, capable, and extremely determined! So what’s the story? Frank is the oldest person to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and had previously been the oldest contestant on Bear Grylls survival show The Island in 2017

Frank Rothwell left the island of Gomera, one Spain’s Canary Islands, on 12th December 2020 in his boat nicknamed ‘Never too old’ and reached Antigua and the finish line on 6th February 2021, an epic 56 day voyage. The strict covid protocols the race took place under only made it more of a challenge.

Frank was rising money for the dementia charity because of the devastating effect of the disease on his brother-in-law, Roger, who sadly died at aged just 62 while Frank was at sea. He heard the news while rowing, getting heartbreaking messages from people who’d had similar experiences around dementia. He would I’d like to thank everyone who reached into their pockets. It meant the world to him.

Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation honoured its promise to double every donation of up to £500,000 to dementia research, and were looking forward to seeing Frank reach his £1million target. As Sir Malcolm Walker, founder and executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said, “Seeing the heart-warming and generous support he’s receiving from the public is astounding. It’s been a tough twelve months, to say the least, but it’s people like Frank who restore our faith in community spirit.”

The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Hilary Evans, was also moved by Frank’s determination to raise £1 million for dementia research. She said, “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. To bring about life-changing treatments for dementia, fundraising efforts from ordinary people like Frank and his supporters provides a crucial lifeline to the progression of our research. We will always be thankful to Frank for doing so much to support Alzheimer’s Research UK during this time and we hope he enjoys a well-earned rest!”

If you would like to donate to Frank’s fundraising challenge yourself, you can still do that. Here’s a link to his Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/frankrothwell And to his website https://frankrothwell-atlanticchallenge.com/