At 80, this veteran is raising money for a hospice by rowing 160 kilometres
TORONTO -- An 80-year-old retired British Army major has embarked on a 160-kilometre charity row in a tin boat to raise money for his local hospice.
Michael Stanley, who is also known as “Major Mick,” served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for 35 years. He’s rowing in a homemade boat made of two sheets of corrugated iron, curtain hooks and a hose pipe that he named “Tintanic.”
Contrary to its name, his vessel has been able to withstand the journey, as he is currently sailing a little over 3 km/h along the Chichester Canal from Hunston to the Chichester Basin in West Sussex, England, twice a week. He started his journey on Sept. 26.
“Everybody’s cheerful and chatty and my reward is seeing their smiles and their reaction to seeing the boat,” he says.
Stanley’s original fundraising goal was to raise C$1,600 for the St. Wilfred’s Hospice, however he currently has raised more than $41,000, according to the campaign page.
“We have experienced a real decrease in our fundraising and income from shops. Actually, all that time we’ve needed to support more people, said Alison Moorey, CEO of St. Wilfrid’s Hospice.
His vessel, Tintanic, was inspired by a trip to India where Stanley saw aluminum boats. He found the time to build his watercraft during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stanley is on the water almost every day and he expects to finish by Christmas.
“I don’t mind what the weather is like as long as it’s not raining,” said Stanley.
His story resembles that of Capt. Tom Moore – a 100-year-old veteran who raised C$21 million for the U.K.’s National Health Service.
Moore became an internet sensation in April after walking 100 lengths of his backyard to raise donations for staff, volunteers and patients who were affected by COVID-19.
Moore was also accompanied by a guard of honour as he completed his final lap.