81-year-old retired army Major Mick Stanley was so moved when he saw the crisis unfolding in Ukraine that he's decided to take to the water in his boat; 'The Tintanic', and raise money to support Ukrainian refugees. The one-man rowing boat is completely homemade, constructed from sheets of corrugated iron and decorated with flags and bunting.
Having lived in the West Sussex area since 1951, Major Mick particularly wanted to support a local charity that is responding to the current crisis. He said: "I have chosen to support Children on the Edge as they are a local organisation and I have lived in the area since 1951! The situation in Ukraine is dire and anything I can do to help fund the good work they are doing is something I’d love to do. I want to raise as much as I can for the work in helping families out of Ukraine.”
Major Mick is planning to set sail on the Tintanic around various locations in the South East over the next few months, including The Serpentine in London, Beaulieu River in the New Forest, the Medina River in the Isle of Wight and the Chichester Canal, where he started off his challenge on Saturday 12th March.
He was dressed in a Union Jack suit to celebrate the Jubilee year and was welcomed by the Chichester Town Crier and serenaded by the Georgia Jazz band. Thankfully the sun was shining and Major Mick was able to christen his latest challenge with a bottle of champange as friends and supporters cheered him on.
Major Mick is hoping to raise a brilliant £5,000 for Children on the Edge with his sailing challenge and he and the Tintanic have already caught the attention of the local and national press, being interviewed by BBC Radio Sussex and The Chichester Observer and photographed by a number of the national papers.
Fundraising Officer Annie Whillians said “We were delighted when Major Mick got in touch and said that he wanted to take to the water to support our work with Ukrainian refugees in Moldova and Romania. It has been incredible to see the response to our appeal locally. We've had schools, businesses and individuals getting in touch looking for ways that they can get involved and support Children on the Edge. We’re really grateful to Major Mick for taking on this challenge and we’re looking forward to seeing him row in the Tintanic over the coming months!“
We’ll be cheering Major Mick on as he completes his challenges and will keep this blog updated as Mick and the Tintanic sail around the South East this summer.
If you would like to support Major Mick you can donate to his JustGiving page here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tintanicforukraine