Two firefighters from Southampton are preparing to row across the Atlantic for mental health.
Based at St Mary’s Fire Station, Adam Bundle and Stu Vince have teamed up to raise money for local charity SolentMind and The Fire Fighters Charity.
The pair of watch managers are trying to raise £100,000 and will be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in December 2020 as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Aiming to break the race record they will take on 3,000 miles in just 37 days setting off from the Canary Islands before reaching Antigua.
Both Adam and Stu have faced their own battles with mental health including having to cope withthe regular pressures at work of making life and death decisions at various types of incidents.
Stu, 43, had to withdraw from the 2010 race across the Atlantic after donating a kidney to a close friend. Following this he suffered severe mental health problems and wants to give back to those that helped him:
“The mental health problems which I faced affected not only myself but also my partner Rachel and family. My drive is to prove to my children that with determination and hard work you can overcome any adversity.”
“It would be an absolute honour to raise money for both The Fire Fighters Charity and SolentMind as they have helped in both my physical and mental fight to return to operational duty.”
Adam, 39, spent five years in the Royal Navy before joining Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and has witnessed the effects of mental health that come from working in the emergency services first-hand. Adam and Stu are both training to become Mental Health First Aiders and join a number of staff who have already been trained to support others with their mental health within HFRS. He admits crossing the Atlantic will be unlike anything he has faced before:
“I thrive on arduous challenges; I’ve run the New York Marathon in breathing apparatus and won a charity boxing bout against the police. However, nothing I have previously done could prepare me for this physically and mentally testing voyage.”
The fundraiser launched on Thursday (23 May) at Southampton Solent University who have offered to put the duo through a rigorous testing programme to ensure they are fully prepared for the arduous challenge awaiting them.
Making use of Solent University’s new state of the art Sports Complex, the High Performance Academy will measure the pair’s biomechanics, body composition and nutrition.
Associate Professor Adam Hawkey, Head of Sport Science and Performance at Solent University said:
“To ensure that Adam and Stuart are in the best physical condition for their Atlantic Rowing Challenge, we will complete a selection of laboratory-based testing protocols. This testing will help us to identify any strengths and weaknesses of each athlete, ensuring that the training provided is individualised.
“We will closely monitor body composition (amount of muscle and fat they have) and give dietary advice, planning and monitoring training with regular tests, to make sure they’re in the best shape possible to finish the challenge.”
In supporting SolentMind the firefighters will be helping the leading mental health charity across Hampshire. They offer a range of high quality services that aim to improve mental wellbeing and campaign to raise awareness and understanding of mental health.
Adam and Stu are also fundraising on behalf of The Fire Fighters Charity who support more than 5,000 fire service personnel each year who have been physically or psychologically impacted by their work.
Kerry James from The Fire Fighters Charity said:
“It’s amazing that Stu and Adam have chosen to take on this daring challenge to fundraise for our Charity. We really appreciate their efforts because we couldn’t do what we do without supporters like them.”
There will be up to thirty teams taking on the gruelling challenge that very few have completed.
Tethered to the boat the Hampshire firefighters will row for two hours then sleep for two hours on a constant cycle for the duration of the challenge which will see them away from home over the Christmas period.
You can sponsor Adam and Stu and help them on their epic mission by donating on their Just Giving page. Track their progress by following them on social media.