What do you know about…

Charity Oars?

Charity Oars


Well, Charity Oars are a pair of oars, hand crafted by a master carpenter and boat builder. These oars are being signed by sporting heroes, television, stage, movie stars, local heroes and public figures. All to help raise awareness and funds for Thrombosis UK.

I recently met the man behind the Charity Oars and he has written a blog. The blog is extremely embarrassing and flattering. Paul (the man behind the Charity Oars) is a particularly likeable man who has come up with this great idea, having suffered from a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) himself – sounds nasty and it is!

Here’s Paul’s blog:

“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream ….!

What wonderful memories these few words bring back, rowing a boat slowly down a stream, no doubt in the sunshine, with the wind blowing softly through the tree’s as the ripples made by the oars float off into the distance.


Not quite the same scenario for Charlie Martell.

Firstly the “row, row, row your boat” is partly correct, however it would be more along the lines of “row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row your boat.”

The “gently down the stream” should in all fairness say “violently, up and down 6 meter high waves across 3,716 miles of ocean.”

Not too sure if there is a Charlie Martell appropriate turn of phrase for “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.” I’m guessing the closest would be “merrily I see land…!!”

The line “life is but a dream.” It doesn’t matter if the dream is big, or if the dream is small, but a dream is still an ambition, a challenge, a goal and so much more, and life should be a dream.

So far this crazy (inspirational), mad (heroic), silly (admirable) chap has taken part in a race to the North Pole, Rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, taken part in The Real Boat Race which is a 500-mile, six-day rowing challenge starting In London, at The London Eye, and ending at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Crews have to navigate two of the world’s most historic rivers and must also cross the English Channel – the world’s busiest shipping channel. Charlie attempted to row the Pacific Ocean (only to be beaten by Typhoon Mawar). Charlie is now planning to take on the Pacific Ocean “again” in 2018 …! To top it all off Charlie is part of the team “Flying for Freedom” who are mounting a daring expedition, which will be undertaken by eight wounded and injured servicemen. Its objective is to focus attention on the urgent need to build self-sustaining activities that get our injured veterans back into work and daily life.

The Expedition, which is organised in partnership with Help for Heroes, will show their ability not their disability as they each fly by microlight to the South Pole.

So let’s recap … North Pole, South Pole, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and a jolly jaunt from London to Paris ….!!

So, when you have the opportunity to meet and chat with such an inspirational person it seemed the right thing to do. As you know the whole Charity Oars campaign is about gaining support from sportsmen, women, television, film stars and people who are inspirational within the community. Charlie Martell certainly is an inspiration.

So off we popped to Paddington station, trying not to look too suspicious or out of place. Standing casually by the “meeting” sign with an 8 foot oar, I seemed to fit in rather well. True, a couple of the other people were standing there with flowers and presents, I dread to think what they thought I was up to…? Answers on a postcard to ……

Well up walked Charlie, a cheery handshake and off we went for a coffee …!

To accomplish all of the adventures that he has undertaken to date, and the support he’s had from his many sponsors and most importantly the charities that he has supported along the way, is a testament to all that is right with the world.

Now this is the part that I’m hoping the lovely Ellisa skips past (of course she might not get this far I do tend to waffle on..!) Well, as Charlie and I chatted on about life, adventures, mentoring, life challenges and other such admirable subjects, the conversation came to “what happens once the Charity Oars are auctioned off?” Well, according to Charlie “The Atlantic is an achievable goal…!”

So who’s up for a row?

It’s all too easy as time passes (a sad truth I’m afraid) to just stop and think you’re done and there’s nothing left out there to drive you, to push you, to stop you living…..!

Well along with Charlie, I couldn’t disagree more….! After surviving Typhoon Mawar, the “normal” response you’d think would be “nope, not doing that again…!” But no, in fact Charlie’s response was; “What if we experience bad weather again? I’m certain it will happen, but I hope it’s not of typhoon strength. If Blossom and I were to find ourselves in a typhoon again, I’m confident we would not only survive again, but would come out of it relatively unscathed and able to continue on our journey.”

survivor səˈvʌɪvə/

noun: survivor; plural noun: survivors

a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event – A person who copes well with difficulties in their life.

Survivors come in all shapes, sexes, colours, heights and sizes. Survivors come from all professions, communities and backgrounds. Now here was someone who had survived a typhoon, and countless other “adventures” personally and professionally.

In the journey so far, the Charity Oars have met some truly amazing people, I mean “truly” amazing. The bizarre circumstance of sitting in a coffee bar at Paddington Station, chatting with a double Guinness Record holder, a chap who has rowed the Atlantic, nearly the Pacific (damn that typhoon), been to the North Pole as well as soon heading to the South Pole, and wants to look for that next adventure, well how could we be anything but in awe…..?….!

It truly was an honor to meet such a chap, who’d of thought all of those years ago I would have been chatting to a Double Guinness Record holder? Not I …!

So, oceans, polar expeditions, an apparent gentle row from London to Paris, now chatting with the Charity Oars …. How amazing is Charlie’s life?

So from a son of a RN Commander (I really wasn’t ever going to follow in his footsteps…!!) all those orders…!! I’d like to give a huge “salute” of thanks to Charlie, for all he’s accomplished so far, for all the amazing adventures in the future, for all the amazing support he’s given to charities and individuals and for the inspiration he gives to so many people. The Charity Oars say …

#Thankyou #TopChap “

Polar Challenge 2005

HMS Mersey visiting Team HESCO








DW Start

Sunset Pacific Ocean 2012









G-CHGA Sundown


To read more about Charity Oars: Charity Oars website  To read (and learn) more about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE): Thrombosis UK


Happy New Year to you! As the second week of the new year begins, Give Them a Sporting Chance begins to celebrate its 25th year of helping others and plans are well underway for two challenges. The first will be taking place in February, the second will take place in June.


Sporting Chance CMYK Melissa Adams Angelman Foundation

The first challenge will be taking place near Blackpool on February 21st. This challenge is to carry a sedan chair from Lytham St Annes, following the coast up to Blackpool. Unfortunately for us sedan chair carriers, the chair won’t be empty… Inside the chair, motivating us, will be Melissa Adams. Melissa is the little girl I have previously written about who suffers from Angelman Syndrome. To help with this challenge, I have called upon some of my crew mates from the London to Paris rowing team (2013). Hopefully, Ed will keep our minds off the challenge with his wit and banter, much as he did during the 2013 row. We will be raising funds for and awareness of Angelman Syndrome, so if you’re in the area or know someone in the come and along and support us! Please visit www.researchangelman.org.uk for more information on Melissa Adams and Angelman Syndrome.


The second challenge will be taking place in Cheltenham on June 21st. As part of ‘Give Them a Sporting Chance’s’ 25th birthday, we at GTaSC have teamed up with the organisers of the Cheltenham Challenge.

GTaSC is raising a minimum of five teams of five people to compete in the 10km course of the Cheltenham Challenge. Each person will run 10km, then when the fifth person has completed the 10km course, the whole team completes the 5km course, starting and finishing as a team. These 25 people will be representing 25 individual military orientated charities. If you would like to be one of the 25, please do get in touch with me. If you would rather run a shorter (5km) or longer (half marathon, marathon or ultra), then please do contact the Cheltenham Challenge direct – www.cheltenhamchallenge.org.uk

So far, the ‘On Course Foundation‘ and ‘The Not Forgotten Association‘ have all agreed to be represented in the 10km Silver Challenge.

On Course Foundation

The Not Forgotten Association


An Honour

CM Cotswold Life Mag image

I’m very proud to announce that Veterans In Action (VIA) have kindly asked me to be one of their Patrons. It is an honour, as I do strongly believe in helping those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I hope through my challenges, I can count on you to help me help them.

Read here what Billy MacLeod of VIA has to say:  http://www.veteransinaction.org.uk/patron-charlie-martell-i-163.php

Devizes to Westminster, 125 miles by kayak

Passing through Hungerford

Passing through Hungerford

The Easter weekend once again saw the annual Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race (“DW”) take place. The race sees the senior doubles depart Devizes on Easter Saturday, heading down the avon & Kennett canal towards Reading. At Reading the crews have an enforced portage, prior to heading down the Thames towards Teddington. Crews must reach Teddington within the tide gate (30mins before high tide to 3hrs 30mins after high tide), or risk being stopped at Teddington until the next high tide.

Just been fed, ready for the off.

Just been fed, ready for the off.

Once again, I opted to undertake this gruelling endurance race in a folding kayak, commonly referred to as a Klepper. The ‘Klepper’ is a heavy, wide and slow beast of a kayak, not designed for racing, but designed for carrying equipment. It certainly adds an extra slant to the race, knowing that racing a klepper is probably the hardest thing to do in DW Race terms.
This year, five folding kayaks entered the race, with three actually taking part. One more than last year.
The conditions this year were a lot more favourable than last year (2013 sub zero temperatures were experienced), that said a persistent head wind and lack of flow made for another tough DW race.
For us, the race didn’t go according to plan. We were hoping to beat last year’s time of 26hrs 8 mins, but due to various issues including a time consuming but repairable technical issue, we managed to miss the tide gate, delaying our arrival at Westminster.
We did notice a number of slower crews in K2s deciding to retire from the race in the vicinity of Teddington. I realise they have their reasons, but Westminster is approximately a three hour paddle from Teddington… most, if not all kayaks could have reached Westminster with relatively little effort.
We continued to Westminster, rather than give up… arriving at 2210hrs on Easter Sunday, some 37hrs and 46 minutes after leaving Devizes. We finished!

I extend my sincere thanks to our support crew, our supporters, the DW Race staff and those who very kindly donated to my chosen charities, Give Them a Sporting Chance and Talking 2 Minds.