Frank Rothwell completes 3,000-mile row across Atlantic Ocean

Credit World's Toughest Row

By Olivia Lewis | Friday 16 February 2024

Oldest man to row Atlantic solo reunites with wife of 53-years after completing the challenge for the second time


  • Frank Rothwell, 73, completed the World’s Toughest Row for Alzheimer’s Research UK and has raised over £260,000.


On Thursday 15 February, 73-year-old Frank Rothwell crossed the finish line in Antigua after rowing 3,000-miles across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the World’s Toughest Row – where he was reunited with his wife of 53 years, Judith, and family.

Completing the race in 64 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, Frank, Chair of Oldham Athletic A.F.C., has beaten his own Guinness World Record as the ‘Oldest person to row across the Atlantic,’. He was awarded his first record after completing the race in 2021.

“Completing the 3,000-mile race – what a feeling! To be back with my soulmate of 53-years after two months is really special”, said Frank.

The grandfather from Oldham set off from La Gomera on the 13 December 2023 with the aim of raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK. So far, he has raised over £260,000, and counting. This is on top of the £1.1 million he raised for the charity the first time he completed the challenge.

This is a cause close to Frank’s heart, having lost his brother-in-law and best friend to the condition. The trip was entirely self-funded by Frank, so all money raised will fund life-changing dementia research.

Frank said, “Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean on my own has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot! A year ago, I was deciding whether I would take on this epic row for the second time, but I knew I would regret not taking the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK. We all want to help make a difference in the world, and I’ve found something I can do.

If nothing changes, one in two of us will be directly affected by dementia. We will either develop the condition ourselves, care for someone with it, or both. As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK is striving to find a cure by revolutionising the way dementia is treated, diagnosed, and prevented. Frank named his boat ‘For A Cure’, to reflect the charity’s mission.

Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, a long-term partner of the charity, generously match-funded the first £100,000 donations made to Frank’s JustGiving page.

“I had so many wonderful messages from friends, relatives, and supporters, cheering me on throughout the race. Every single person was wishing me well and rooting for me. You can’t beat that feeling. Thank you for your support and donations and for helping me raise awareness for dementia research. It means the world to me”, said Frank.


Emma Whitcombe, Deputy Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK said, “From everyone here at Alzheimer’s Research UK, we would like to congratulate Frank on his successful crossing of the Atlantic and new record.

“Over the course of the 3,000-mile race, Frank overcame the challenges of the ocean, and we are in awe of his determination to complete this adventure. We are incredibly moved by Frank’s efforts to raise vital awareness and support our search for a cure.

“Frank’s support has never been more important. Dementia affects almost one million people in the UK and tragically, not one of them will survive. We urgently need to change this. New treatments for people in the UK are on the horizon, but there’s still much more work for us to do to change lives. It’s the generosity and kindness from people like Frank and his supporters that will take us one step closer to a cure. Thank you.

“We would also like to say a big thank you to our long-term partners, Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, for supporting Frank’s fundraising with match-funding.”


Richard Walker, Alzheimer’s Research UK Ambassador, Chairman of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and Executive Chairman of Iceland Foods, said “Congratulations to Frank on yet another brilliant achievement. Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for the second time, at 73-years-old, is no small feat. Frank’s spirit and determination to make a difference is truly inspiring.”

“Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation was proud to support Frank’s fantastic fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we’re pleased to match the full £100,000 of donations made.”


Darren Royle, CEO, at Oldham Athletic, A.F.C. said, “Frank’s achievements in completing this extraordinary feat are a true inspiration to us all. We are hugely privileged to have a person of such conviction and bravery as our chairman, and everyone connected to Oldham Athletic and the community we serve are immensely proud of his accomplishments.

“The remarkable levels of dedication, resilience and fortitude Frank has shown during this challenge are a measure of his enormous qualities as a person.

“Since setting off in December, he has had to overcome the sort of adversity he has never faced before, and in doing so he has won the hearts of many people at home and abroad.

“By raising considerable funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK, Frank has provided significant support to cause that means so much to him and his contribution towards the overall mission of finding a cure is worthy of the utmost admiration.”


To donate to Frank’s fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK, visit: Frank Rothwell’s World’s Toughest Row Atlantic Challenge 2023 – JustGiving

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About the author

Olivia Lewis

Communications Officer - Corporate