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Meet Bernie Hollywood OBE!

Bernie Hollywood 5f1ff656a892b

In December 2022, British Charity Guru, Social Entrepreneur and Adventurer Bernie Hollywood OBE will be taking on the incredible Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean in the world’s toughest row – a journey of 3,000 miles and up to 90 days in the world’s most dangerous ocean – in support of charities Samaritans and Love Rowing. Get to know a little more about Bernie, and what has inspired him to take on this incredible feat…

What inspired you to take on this challenge?

I’ve been supporting my charities and social enterprises, and adventuring for 40 years now – taking on challenges that put my physical and mental endurance to the test is something I feel is always worthwhile when supporting a crucial cause!

This time is certainly no different. With everything that has happened in the past year, I’ve been shocked by the effect that the pandemic and the lockdowns have had on young people’s mental health. The combination of school closures, isolation and general uncertainty over the future has taken a huge toll on the younger generation, and many are now experiencing heightened stress or anxiety, among many other mental health issues.

As a father myself, I want to do everything I can to help improve the support available to early years children, young students and their families in these tough times – and that’s why I’m taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in the Boat of Hope: I want to bring hope to all children and their families who are currently struggling with their mental health.

Why have you chosen Samaritans and LOVE Rowing as the charities you’re supporting?

I’ve chosen Samaritans and LOVE Rowing as these are two charities particularly close to my heart.

The Samaritans provide a vital service, offering support and non-judgmental assurance to those who may be struggling to cope. I’ve been inspired by the work they’ve done, and helping them to fund new and existing service lines will be crucial in supporting the increasing number of young people suffering with mental health issues.

And as the Foundation Manager of LOVE Rowing, I’m proud to also be supporting this incredible charity, which creates accessible and inclusive rowing programmes for underrepresented communities, supporting children with their mental health challenges.  

What other challenges have you taken on in the past?

I’ve taken on quite a few different challenges previously, each one as physically and mentally demanding as the other! Some of the toughest include reaching the Geographic Poles, climbing some of the world’s highest mountains, trekking unsupported through deserts and running 41 marathons back-to-back in just 20 days (and I hold the world record for the longest-distance run in a week!). I’m always determined to push myself to the limit to help raise as much awareness and funds for a crucial cause as I possibly can.

How are you preparing for the challenge?

It’s undoubtedly going to be an incredibly difficult challenge that requires a lot of preparation – and my fitness training is already well-underway. Over lockdown, I’ve been rowing at home completing 10km per day, and recently completed 42km (a marathon distance) to help improve my stamina and strength – it’s been really positive to see my performance gradually develop each week. And now, I am also back onto the water of the River Dee, rowing with my Masters crew mates at Grosvenor Rowing Club, Chester.

The whole campaign is a collaborative fundraising effort, and I’m incredibly grateful to have a fantastic support team by my side, helping to raise awareness for the Boat of Hope and for Samaritans and LOVE Rowing. I am particularly grateful to our principal partner, ParentPay whose support has already proven to be invaluable. Even at this very early stage, it’s been so exciting to see our campaign come together. The campaign includes artists, musicians, authors, influencers, all of whom will be revealed in due course – watch this space!

21 April 2021