People of Action

Tyneside Rotarian conquers rowing challenge

Tyneside Rotarian conquers rowing challenge

Rotarian Garreth Murrell finished the challenge of a lifetime by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean with his fellow army veterans.

Tyneside Rotarian Garreth Murrell recently completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which involved rowing 3,000 miles over the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

Along with the rest of ‘Team Emotive’ – Jason Watkin, Chris Harvey and Phil Kite – Garreth crossed the finish line in Antigua having been rowing for 45 days, 1 hour and 54 minutes.

The challenge was done to support Veterans at Ease, the charity set up by Garreth of which Chris and Jason are both beneficiaries.

Veterans at ease to support servicemen and women, like Garreth and his team, once they leave the forces by providing free, open-ended neurolinguistic psychotherapy to all members of the armed forces community.

When Garreth spoke to Rotary magazine back in December 2022, he said: “This is my one last big expedition before I retire.

“I am determined in doing this row because I want to highlight to the world that issues such as PTSD, depression and suicide in returning veterans do not need to happen.

“As chief executive of Veterans at Ease, I want to show my local community, the nation, and the world at large the positive impact which the charity has.”

Few people have ever rowed the length of the Atlantic Ocean, one of the only ones being Phil Kite who took part in this challenge back in 2018, so there was an understandable level of disbelief amongst the team when they stepped onto dry land for the first time in 45 days.

Upon reaching the shores of Antigua, Garreth said he felt: “Elated. I’ve never had a high like this and I’ve been on lot’s of expeditions all around the world. This is amazing.”

Garreth and the rest of the team had been keeping followers of the challenge entertained throughout the 45 days with various social media posts and they all described the row as a ‘total life reset’.