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Four Royal Marines plan winter charity row across the Atlantic

Four Royal Marines plan winter charity row across the Atlantic
23 September 2020
TWO Royal Marines and two former commandos plan to row the Atlantic this December to help fellow green berets.

Sam ‘Nutty' Edwards and David ‘Brucey' Bruce – both serving with 42 Commando at Bickleigh, near Plymouth – will join Afghan veterans Juniour Mcilhiney and Will Schweppe in crossing the Atlantic between Gran Canaria and Barbados.

Their goal? Apart from covering the 3,000-mile expanse of ocean is raising awareness of – and well over £10,000 for – the Cockleshell Endeavour Foundation and Royal Marines Charity Fund.

The former is named after the legendary Royal Marine canoeists who attacked German raiders in Bordeaux in 1942 and uses water-based endurance sport to help Royal Marines veterans struggling with mental and physical injuries to get their lives back on-track.

Sam and Bruce have already tackled several gruelling canoe/rowing events, from the Devizes to Westminster canoe race (ninth overall and first in their class), crossed the Baltic in an ocean rowing boat, while Bruce has completed the 444-mile Yukon River Quest – the world's longest annual canoe and kayak race – in just under 68 hours.

Taking on the Atlantic Ocean row is a fantastically exciting project. It’s an endurance challenge of epic proportions that will involve approximately two months out at sea in likely all sorts of weather. We have all been training hard and cannot wait to get going.

Sam Edwards

After joining the Marines in 2007, Juniour was injured by a large IED in Helmand Province in 2011, when he was flung from an armoured troop carrier during a routine patrol. Since leaving the Corps, he has trekked the Himalayas, gig rowed for a local Plymouth rowing club and participated in sea kayak expeditions.

Will joined the Marines aged just 17 in 2009 and served alongside Juniour. He too was wounded in Afghanistan in 2011 – but by an enemy sniper who left him with permanent nerve damage in his hand, leading to medical discharge in 2013. He struggled to adjust to civilian life.

“I suffered from bouts of anger, depression and anxiety. I refused help and felt like a failure. In my head, I had let the lads down and lost all the confidence I had gained from being part of the Royal Marines,” Will explained.

“Over the years, I have learned how to manage those negative feelings and found ways to live with them so they no longer hold me back. I’m proud to represent the Corps again and extremely grateful to share this mission with three other bootnecks, all close friends.”

The rowers intend to set off on December 1 and will sell their boat when they reach Barbados, with the proceeds and all donations received shared between the Royal Marines Charity Fund and the Cockleshell Endeavour Foundation.

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