A former soldier is aiming to realise his boyhood dream of completing a gruelling ocean row.
Patrick Gallagher will be spending Christmas on board a 29ft boat with three other servicemen who are taking on the world’s toughest rowing race, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
He is part of the first all amputee team to take on the crossing to raise money for Help for Heroes, Blemsa, Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund and Row2Recovery.
The 30-year-old Wisbech man lost his right leg below the knee after stepping on an explosive while serving with the Irish Guards in Afghanitan in 2009.
Mr Gallagher, who hails from an island off the Irish coast, was inspired after meeting ocean rower Don Allen in 1987.
He said: “He came ashore in 1987 and there is a picture of me in his wooden ocean rowing boat, but since then it has been a boyhood dream.
“When I got the opportunity to do it and knew it was raising money for servicemen, I couldn’t say no.
“I really wanted to complete an extraordinary challenge.”
Mr Gallagher and team mates Light Dragoon Lce Cpl Cayle Royce, Flt Sgt Nigel Rogoff and Royal Marine Clr Sgt Lee Spencer will be setting off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 15 for the estimated 50-day row to Antigua.
The team, who are competing against able-bodied crews, will be rowing for two hours then have two hours off, 24 hours a day. And the off periods will see them cleaning and repairing the boat along with their prosthetic limbs. They will also have to be roped up to the boat.
He said: “It is going to be a huge challenge. Chances are we will meet tropical storms and the mental challenge of being far away from help and land. We are going to be pretty exposed out there.
“Chances are that we are will be dealing with some pretty big waves, which is not so bad if they are going in the same direction as you are.
“I have a healthy respect for the sea and I don’t have a fear of being away from the land.”
Mr Gallagher is married to Arlene and has son Patrick.
To support Mr Gallagher and the team go to: www.row2recovery.com/atlantic-row.html