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‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’ Fundraiser

2291. Frank Rothwell

Frank Rothwell, aged 73, from Oldham, is chair of Oldham Athletic Football club and the oldest person to row across the Atlantic having completed the ‘World’s Toughest Row’ twice.

In 2021, Frank completed the 3,000-mile row from the Canary Islands to Antigua to raise money for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’ after witnessing the heartbreak of dementia within his close friends and family. Taking on the challenge alone, Frank completed the distance in his boat in 56 days and raised over £1.1 million for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’. Frank went on to break his own record in 2023, when he completed the challenge again, aged 73.

After losing his brother-in-law to Alzheimer’s whilst he was at sea during his 2021 challenge, and his best friend in 2023, Frank wanted to continue to raise money for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’. Frank crossed the finish line on 15th February 2024 after 64 days, raising a further £370,000 for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’ in his boat ‘For A Cure.’ Completing the challenge makes Frank the oldest person to row any ocean and, after spending a total of 120 days at sea, takes his fundraising total to over £1.4 million for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’.

In a personal letter to Frank, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“I wanted to write personally to congratulate you on your extraordinary, record-breaking row across the Atlantic. The fact that this is the second time you have completed this journey is nothing short of phenomenal.

“These funds are now supporting vital research into dementia, taking us another step closer to improving diagnosis and treatment and finding potential cures.“You have proved, as your first boat was aptly named, that you are ‘never too old’ to take on a challenge – and I know that you have inspired many others to take on their own challenges with renewed determination.”  

Frank said:

“I am incredibly honoured by this recognition, thank you. When I first rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 2021, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. But with dementia remaining such a huge and heartbreaking issue, I was determined to do anything I could to help make a difference and that’s why I decided to take on the challenge again. I am so proud of the funds and awareness I have raised for ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK’, a charity close to my heart, and the support I received shows how much a cure for dementia means to people.” 

Find out more about ‘Frank’s Fundraising’ and ‘Alzheimer’s Research UK

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