Army Major from Portsmouth takes on Altlantic Rowing challenge to raise money and awareness for veterans mental health
Paul Roadnight, who grew up in Clanfield from the age of 11 until joining the Army and moving to Scotland, is preparing to undertake the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in aid of two charities incredibly close to his heart.
Paul, who is now a British Army infantry warrant officer, will be taking part in the colossal rowing race in December of this year along with teammates, Tom Atkinson, Jordan Parkinson and Jordan’s father, Richard Parkinson.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is an unaided row that will take competitors more than 3000 miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands, to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda.
The group will be rowing to raise money for Rock2Recovery, a mental health service with a mission change the lives of members of the Armed Forces, Veteran Community, and the Emergency Services who are affected by stress, and the Sailors Society, an international Christian charity working in ports across the world to provide welfare and practical support.
Having been close to the issue, the-39-year-old who in his youth played for local basketball team the ‘Portsmouth Pirates’, is keen to support these two charities.
He said: ‘Over the time I’ve served in the Army, we’ve lost quite a few people we served with due to them taking their own life. Young men are often in the demographic of people affected, they should be in the prime of their life but some of their experiences have ground them down. The reality is, from my own personal experience having worked around people, there really was no sign.’
Having lost people close to them, for Paul and his fellow teammates, the ‘key’ is getting the message out, making it easier for men to seek support.
‘One thing that is clear that people seem to not know where to go, and who to speak to or people maybe don’t want to speak because they feel ashamed or that their not coping. Knowing that there is help out there and that they can talk to somebody who can sign post them to it, if people were aware of that – some of them would still be here.’