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Peter's Atlantic row to help our heroes; Ex-sergeant eyes record.

Byline: Tim Lewis

A FORMER SAS sergeant will today launch a bid to raise funds for charity and smash the world record for crossing the North Atlantic unsupported in a rowing boat.

Peter Bray, 53, from Bridgend, aims to raise pounds 25,000 for the charity Help for Heroes for its work with wounded members of the armed forces.

Mr Bray, who officially launches his attempt at Holyhead Marina on Anglesey, will follow his boat and fly to Newfoundland, Canada, for the start of his trip later this year.

The specially-adapted boat will fly out this week.

He said: "I feel great and I'm really looking forward to the challenge, which will take me out of my comfort zone as a seasoned kayaker used to facing what's coming and have me rowing seated the opposite way around.

"The biggest danger I'll face is coping with the unexpected from mother nature, but there are also the hazards of big shipping that won't see a boat like mine and may just run me over.

"I won't really miss anything as I'm used to doing what I do and going around the world on my own. The only exception might be crunchy food like vegetables."

Mr Bray said he has been training for 18 months for the attempt, with time in the gym followed by kayaking and rowing.

He said: "I'm raising money for Help For Heroes because we don't look after the service people who come back from conflicts dead and injured at all well.

"The charity does a great job and is only just starting to plug the gaps that the Government should have filled, like offering dedicated hospitals and rehabilitation facilities for injured forces people."

Mr Bray has self-financed the trip and spent pounds 40,000 on designing and building the boat he will use.

He started training while working in Iraq, providing close protection security.

When he arrives in Newfoundland, he will have to wait until weather conditions are right for the journey of more than 2,000 miles to the Isles of Scilly.

He said his aim is to beat the world record time of 64 days, 10 hours and 48 minutes for a solo, unsupported, land to land crossing of the North Atlantic, which was set by British rower Rob Munslow in August 2006 between St John's in Canada and the Scilly Isles.

Mr Bray said: "I'm doing the solo row across the North Atlantic to complete the row I promised myself when the four-man attempt I was part of, in a boat called the Pink Lady, was smashed by Hurricane Alex just short of a successful crossing in 2004.

"When I successfully do the solo row, I will then do a solo, unsupported sail across the same route and be the only person to have ever done that."

The charity Help for Heroes was launched in October 2007 by Bryn and Emma Parry and a group of friends and service relations who wanted to help the wounded coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Donations for the row can be made at www.justgiving.com/peterbraynac-helpforheroes

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Former SAS sergeant Peter Bray is attempting to break the world record for crossing the North Atlantic in a rowing boat unsupported, for charity
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 26, 2009
Words:545
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