Army veteran visits Leeds Royal Armouries before 5,000 mile row across the North Pacific

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An army veteran who served in Iraq and Northern Ireland visited Leeds Royal Armouries today ahead of his latest challenge to become the first man to row solo across the North Pacific.

Charlie Martell, who served as Corporal in the Royal Engineers, is taking on the 5,000 mile challenge seven years on from his first attempt when he was caught in the middle of Typhoon Mawar and had to be rescued by a passing vessel.

Army veteran Charlie Martell visit Leeds Royal Armouries before setting off on a 5,000 mile row across the North Pacific.

Army veteran Charlie Martell visit Leeds Royal Armouries before setting off on a 5,000 mile row across the North Pacific.

His boat, named Blossom, was badly damaged in the tropical cyclone but Mr Martell, 48, said she is now stronger than ever.

The father of two was inspired to become an adventurer by a school friend’s father, John Ridgeway, who was the first to row the Atlantic in 1966.

Now, he is attempting to break his own world record as he makes the sixth month voyage from Japan to the shores of the USA.

He said: “There have been 15 failed attempts to row this route - in fact, I was number 12.

“Somebody at some stage has got to do it and I’m determined to be that person.”

Mr Martell is sponsored by the city’s Royal Armouries Museum and the attraction’s logo will appear on the side of his boat.

In 2018, he was one of the museum's ambassadors for their ‘100 Days of Peace’ project.

The project was a concert which raised funds for military veterans facing mental health charities.

Mr Martell is continuing to raise money to support his fellow veterans and those in need.

The row will raise money for charity Give Them a Sporting Chance which gives disabled people or carers life-changing experiences.

He is also fundraising for Veterans and Community Gallery which empowers veterans and Veterans in Action which helps veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to have the Royal Armouries support and I was delighted asked me to be an ambassador for one of their 100 Days of Peace concert.

“The relationship has been really fantastic. I know they’re in Leeds and I’m in Gloucestershire but the link between the military and the Royal Armouries is as strong today as it has ever been.”

Claire Cox, Head of Development at the Royal Armouries, said: “Charlie has been a great supporter of the museum, particularly in the past year as an Ambassador of our 100 Days to Peace project.

“Charlie is facing an incredibly gruelling challenge himself and we are delighted to offer him the support of the Royal Armouries as he is a remarkable man raising awareness of and funds for causes which really matter to us.”

Ross Thompson, Brand Marketing Director at Leeds based sponsors Hesco, said: “We are wishing Charlie success in the mission and with that success, we plan to inspire others and show them that, with focus and determination, anything is possible. "