Chorley men and friends get set for Atlantic rowing challenge in Elijah's Star

Never mind rowing your boat gently down the stream, Jason Kerr, 51, from Chorley and friends will be taking on the task of rowing theirs into the Atlantic next month all in the name of charity.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 12:42 pm

Brinscall native and Army veteran Kerr, who now lives in Surrey, will take on the Talisker Whisky Challenge - known as the world's toughest row challenge, with friends Dean Frost also from Brinscall, Mac McCarthy and Philip Bigland in support of Action Medical Research.

So far the four men have raised £230,000 for the charity and they haven't even set off yet!

The team will depart in their boat - Elijah's Star - dedicated to and in memory of a child named Elijah who was born prematurely and sadly died at 37 days.

Jason (far right) with Dean next to him and the other two gents.

They will row the Atlantic to shine a spotlight on the impact premature birth has on babies and their families and to help fund more research that can save lives. The row, which they hope to complete in 37 days, will cover more than 3,000 miles encompassing the Canary Islands to the end point in Antigua and Barbuda.

Jason said: "The target we have set ourselves represents the brief life of baby Elijah, a premature but much loved son and brother, who sadly lived for just 37 days.

Poignantly, Wednesday marked World Prematurity Day. While father or two Jason, luckily doesn't have first hand experience with premature babies, he adds: "I've been very fortunate to have children who were born without complications. However, I have close friends who have been through the devastation, the fears and mental scars that premature birth leaves behind.

"This is just about four guys who latched onto a charity."

Dean and Jason.

They have been training for two years for the 3,000 mile unsupported rowing race which will see them row in a 28-foot boat in continuous shifts of two hours' rowing, two hours' sleep.

They will grapple with sleep deprivation, salt sores alongside physical extremities in the middle of the ocean where the nearest land is 2.5 miles below sea.

The friends, who are all godfathers to each other's children, will depart on Sunday, December 12.

One in 13 babies are born prematurely before 37 weeks of pregnancy and globally it's the biggest killer of children under five.

The four friends.

To help raise funds for research into premature birth visit: https://elijahsstar.com/