AN INTREPID Dorset fundraiser will be rowing 3,000 nautical miles to pull in money for the RNLI.

Neil Wittridge, from Lyme Regis, will make his way across the Atlantic Ocean for the fundraising expedition, which is expected to take around 35 to 40 days to complete.

As part of a team of 12, Mr Wittridge will start off the journey in Tenerife, row across the Atlantic Ocean and cross the finish line in Antigua.

Mr Wittridge, 61, said: "I've been rowing at Lyme Regis Gig Club for many years but this is definitely the biggest challenge I've taken on to date.

"I've been thinking about potentially doing it for the past two or three years and it came around really quickly. I'm 61 so if I don't do it now I'm never going to do it.

"We had a training week in September, the crew met each other for the first time and got used to the boat. It made it all very real and made me realise I need to ramp up the training.

"I'm really looking forward to it, I think I've gone past the point of apprehension now and I'm ready to get cracking."

The team will head to Tenerife at the end of November, where they will spend a week preparing. Weather permitting the team will set off on either Saturday, December 4 or Sunday, December 5. They hope to reach Antigua by mid-January.

Mr Wittridge has set up a Just Giving page to raise funds for the RNLI, a charity which he feels very close to.

He said: "Prior to rowing I did a lot of sailing so I've always been very aware of the RNLI. It's a hugely important service, the work they do is incredible and without them there would be a lot more deaths at sea. I only have admiration for what they do.

"We have the opportunity to raise money for a charity of my choice and if anyone would like to contribute that would be very much appreciated."

Some very challenging conditions are expected on their way.

Roxy Exhibitions, which is overseeing the voyage, states: "Participating in a Roxy Expedition will test you in every possible way. The rowing schedule for much of the time will be 12 hours of rowing per person per day, broken into two hour shifts.

"This is a tough schedule and is mentally and physically exhausting. Living in close quarters with 11 other recently befriended rowers in a small vessel and unable to see land can also be emotionally challenging."

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