‘Major Mick’ keeps Tintanic afloat through the winter cold in charity challenge

‘Major Mick’ keeps Tintanic afloat through the winter cold in charity challenge

Michael Stanley Charity Series
Michael Stanley Charity Series

A retired army major has braved the winter cold to complete a charity challenge in his handcrafted Tintanic boat.

Michael Stanley, known as ‘Major Mick’, has rowed more than 125 miles and raised nearly £12,000 during his eight-month fundraiser for charity Children on the Edge, which supports children in war-torn Ukraine.

The 82-year-old, who served 35 years in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, completed the challenge in a Union Jack suit and in tow with Santa in a Mini Tintanic tender.

Mr Stanley previously completed 100 miles of rowing twice a week at 2mph along the Chichester Canal in December 2020 in his previous version of the corrugated iron boat.

Michael Stanley Charity Series
Retired Army Major Michael Stanley has rowed more than 125 miles and raised nearly £12,000 (Ben Mitchell/PA)

He sold this boat to charity and built an improved version, the Tintanic II, which he sailed at locations across the region, including crossing the Solent from Hurst Castle, Hampshire, to Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight in July.

For this challenge he rowed the Beaulieu, Arun, Medina and Hamble rivers. He has previously taken the Tintanic for rows as far away as Scotland.

During his fundraiser this year he has also met King Charles at the Big Jubilee Lunch, as well as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson after being invited to Downing Street.

Mr Stanley, from Chichester, West Sussex, told the PA news agency: “It was wonderful fun, it was about a lot more than just raising money, it was about meeting people and talking to people.

“Only crazy old Englishmen would do that.

“Everything went according to plan, the boat needs a bit of maintenance and it’s leaking a bit now so I have to put it in the garden and fill it up with a hose to see where the leak is.

“I will come back next year, it has become a kind of illness for me, I have to think of some nice places to go next year.”

He added: “My goal was to do 100 miles and I’ve done 125, my goal was £5,000 and I’m close to £12,000 short so I’m pretty happy I’ve covered the distance and in the three years I’ve been in raised £75,000.

Michael Stanley Charity Series
Michael Stanley during a previous challenge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I crossed the Solent, met Prince Charles, or King Charles as he is now, and I met the Prime Minister.”

Mr Stanley finished his challenge by rowing from Itchenor to the Chichester Yacht Club in Birdham.

When asked if the cold put him off, he said: “Gosh no I’m happy in any weather, I’ve got an umbrella so I’m happy in the rain and I’m happy in the cold.

“Don’t let the guys get you down, I say that.”

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