Bolton School Junior Boys

Parent Set to Row the Atlantic for Lads and Girls Club

Mark Brocklehurst, dad of Year 3 Park Road pupil Tom, is getting ready to row the Atlantic and hopefully raise a quarter of a million pounds for Bolton Lads and Girls Club on the way!

Mark and three friends will be taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, one of the world’s most extreme rowing challenges. Not only do they hope to win, they also aim to break the world record and raise £250,000 to fund the Junior Mentoring Project at Bolton Lads and Girls Club. They will crew one of 20 boats setting off on the 3,000-mile trip across the Atlantic. The Challenge starts off from the Spanish port of San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 2nd 2013 and finishes in the Caribbean island of Antigua mid January, meaning the men will spend Christmas and New Year at sea. The team will be at sea for about six weeks, rowing for two hours before snatching food and sleep for another two hours.

Mr Brocklehurst visited Park Road to tell the boys all about his adventure and even brought along the boat he will be sailing in. The Junior Boys also stuck to the nautical theme for their annual fun run which raised money for the Bolton Branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Mr Brocklehurst, now MD of the Sharples Group, is no stranger to the seas thanks to his background in the Royal Navy. He said: “On turning 50 last year I wanted to do a different challenge for Bolton Lads and Girls Club, so I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats and raised £35,000. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a real challenge.” Mr Brocklehurst’s friend Nick Griffiths emailed him to say he thought they should row an ocean, and Mark jumped in straight away. He added: “It’s not just the physical challenge, it is as much of a challenge to raise the money and make it to the start line. Fewer than 500 people have rowed across an ocean - more people have been into space and climbed Mount Everest - and the Atlantic Rowing Challenge is known as the toughest race on earth.”

Mark isn’t the first person with connections to Bolton School to take up the challenge - Old Girl Rachel Flanders became the youngest person to row the Atlantic in 2007 when she was still a pupil in the Girls’ Division.

The Bolton Atlantic Challenge was officially launched at one of the Bolton Lads and Girls Club’s Business Breakfasts, and the team is now hoping individuals and businesses will get on board by making donations or becoming sponsors.

Mark Brocklehurst Atlantic Challenge

Mark Brocklehurst brought the boat he will row the Atlantic in to School to show the boys

Mark Brocklehurst Atlantic Challenge