Latest News | 13 December 2023

Bondholder charities set to benefit from epic solo rowing challenge

Derby City Council
Derby County Community Trust
Derby County Football Club
Vic Handley
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Three Bondholder charities are to benefit from an epic solo rowing challenge across the Atlantic Ocean.

Next year, Vic Handley, from Derby, will row 3,000 miles single-handed, from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands to Antigua, in the Caribbean.

And the 69-year-old will take part in the challenge, organised by Atlantic Campaigns, in aid of four charities: Umbrella, Derby County Community Trust, Enthusiasm Trust and Mind Derbyshire.

In total, he aims to raise more than £200,000 for those causes.

Earlier this week, representatives from those charities, along with a number of civic dignitaries, joined him outside Derby County’s Pride Park Stadium, to unveil and name the boat he will row in the challenge, which will begin in 12 months’ time.

Vic said: “I’m proud that, with the permission of Derby City Council, my boat will be named City of Derby UK after my beloved city of birth.

“I will be 70 years old when I attempt the challenge, but age is just a number. It shouldn’t exclude anyone from realising their ambitions or potential.”

The challenge Vic is undertaking is called the World’s Toughest Row – Atlantic.

During the challenge, which he expects could take around 75 days, he will be allowed only limited communication with friends and family.

And, as he will be rowing solo, he will need to carry out all of the maintenance both on the boat – and underneath it.

Vic, a retired company director born and bred in Derby, said: “Battling my way through a difficult childhood taught me to be resilient, determined, single-minded and ready to meet challenges head on – all the qualities I will need in buckets to overcome this challenge of a lifetime.

“In every area, whether it be family, business or sport, I have always tried to be the best at whatever I do, to at least try to fulfil my dreams and ambitions and to encourage those around me to do the same.

“My mantra has always been, to try is not to fail, to fail is not to try.”

In his lifetime, Vic has tried many things – including white collar boxing aged 56 and competing in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.

And at 62, he became a player for Derby County’s walking football team – and then at 65, made his debut for the England Walking Football Community over 60’s team.

Vic said: “My true love was playing football and, like any child growing up, I always harboured the ambition of playing for my country.

“Sadly, that ambition passed me by, but on my retirement, I was introduced to walking football and my ambitions were reignited.

“I’ve accomplished many things – but rowing the Atlantic Ocean solo will be the biggest accomplishment of my life.”

Vic is now calling on the Bondholder community to back his challenge.

A number have already pledged their support – with Marketing Derby showing its support by giving him free Bondholder membership.

Lindsey Hatfield, commercial development manager at Marketing Derby, said:  “Since my first meeting with Vic nearly 18 months ago, I have been passionate about supporting him and his determination to fulfil his dream.

“Vic is incredibly proud of Derby and will be waving the flag for the city during the challenge.

“To show our support we have offered Vic a complimentary Bondholder membership, and we will be following his training in the lead up to the challenge and his progress throughout.

“Vic is a proud family man who gives generously to local charities. Whoever pledges their support can be assured that it will ultimately benefit the four very worthy causes he has chosen to row for.”

To find out how you can support Vic e-mail

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