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Veteran Atlantic Rower

1788. Dave Bell

Dave Bell, from Dorset, is a Royal Marine veteran who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Cornwall in Summer 2021 to support veteran charities ‘Rock 2 Recovery’ and ‘Special Boat Service Association’.

Dave Bell

Dave, who has a fear of open water, rowed the 3,000-mile journey across the Atlantic unaided, battling 10ft high waves and tropical storms over four months alone, with his final push involving rowing non-stop for 40 hours after encountering challenging weather off the Isles of Scilly. His challenges has resulted in over £42,000 raised for ‘Rock 2 Recovery Charity’, a PTSD charity for veterans with brain injuries which provides coaching and welfare support to aid their recovery, and ‘Special Boat Service Association’, which provides relief for members of the Special Boat Service and their families who are facing injury, sickness or hardship.

In a personal letter to Dave, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“From your service in the Royal Marines, you understand the true meaning of courage and fortitude and the enormity of the challenges that can be faced on a mission.

“So I was inspired to learn of your incredible mission to row across the Atlantic Ocean raising vital funds for ‘Rock 2 Recovery’ and ‘Special Boat Service Association’. This would be an awesome feat for anyone but doubly so for someone with a fear of open water.”

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, said:

“Crossing the Atlantic in any boat is a challenge in itself, but to row alone, in fear of the open water, day after day, for months, is nothing short of miraculous. But then I’d expect nothing less from a former Royal Marine. They are a special breed and Dave Bell is one of them. I can only admire Dave’s courage and tenacity and congratulate him for raising so much money for two excellent causes.”

Dave said:

“It was a huge surprise but a great honour to receive the Point of Light award. While the row was primarily a personal endeavour, knowing I was raising money for people who are much worse off than me gave me inspiration to carry on when the going became tough and I was questioning my ability to continue. The amount raised has given me an immense sense of satisfaction and serves as a reminder there are still many good, generous people out there. Thank you.”

Picture credit: Bjoern Kils / New York Media Boat

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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