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 setting sail on the Tintanic around various locations in the South East including Regents Canal 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.
Over the Jubilee weekend in June, Mick rowed three miles along Regents Canal in London, collecting donations along the way from generous passers-by. In honour of his charity fundraising over the past few years, he was also invited to the 'Big Jubilee Lunch' event at the Oval a few days later, organised by the Eden Project on Saturday 4th June. He was lucky enough to meet H.R.H Prince Charles, who spoke to Mick and his wife Sally about his adventures in the 'Tintanic'. The Prince even joked to Mick that he didn't advise crossing the Atlantic in the small homemade boat.
Major Mick has smashed his fundraising target of £5000 for Children on the Edge with his rowing challenge and he and the Tintanic II 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.
After arriving at the IOW sailing club in style, the Tintinic was included in the Vintage car display along the seafront. Major Mick said “it was humbling to meet so many generous and enthusiastic onlookers”.
Crossing the Solent in July
Mick set off from Hurst Castle in Lymington to row 1.8 miles across the Solent to Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight on the 23rd July. He said the journey 'couldn't have gone better' with calm seas and beautiful sunshine.
Hever Castle Lake - Wednesday 3rd August
Major Mick took to the 38 acre, Hever Lake, put in by William Waldorf Astor, on Wednesday 3 August in his boat, Tintanic II. Dressed in his Union Jack suit, Major Mick rowed across the Lake and Sixteen Acre Island. This row has helped in reach 57 miles of the 100 miles he aims to complete by Christmas.
He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my row in the Lake. The weather was perfect and the scenery from the lake was quite stunning. I will be returning at a later date to spend more time looking at the Castle and grounds.”
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