Row, row, row your boat gently across the Indian Ocean

GETTING IN SHAPE Ashley Wilson, left, with personal trainer Lance Tolliday at Fareham Leisure Centre. Picture: Sarah Standing (133658-3718)
GETTING IN SHAPE Ashley Wilson, left, with personal trainer Lance Tolliday at Fareham Leisure Centre. Picture: Sarah Standing (133658-3718)
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Jean Everitt from Friends of the Earth, Cllr Trevor Cartwright, Cllr Rob Humby, Cllr Graham Burgess, Jean MacGrory from Hampshire County Council with Callum Manson, Thomas Houghton and Skye Maccoll from Rowner Junior School. Picture: David George

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A MAN has decided to take on a challenge of a lifetime as he attempts to break a world record by rowing 3,600 miles across the Indian Ocean.

Ashley Wilson, from Wickham, wants to beat the record of 85d 2h 05min to raise awareness for three charities — Macmillan Cancer Support, Young Epilepsy and Scouts.



The challenge will be made even harder because 35-year-old Ashley has epilepsy and has on average two seizures a week. He is also still in remission from cancer, after he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 19.

He will be attempting the row with James Ketchell, an intrepid adventurer who has a reputation for completing gruelling challenges, after the pair met at a Scouts meeting.

James, from Basingstoke, is currently on a round-the-world cycle and is due back into Portsmouth on January 31.

Ashley, the assistant county commissioner in the Scouts, said: ‘I want to raise awareness of epilepsy because I know what it’s like. I want to go back to work and have found it difficult as soon as you mention epilepsy, there is a certain stigma. The vast majority of my fits I don’t get any warning, so I need to make people aware.’

Ashley was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of seven, and nine years ago he had to stop working because he was having up to 20 seizures a day. He is taking medication and this number has dropped.

He said: ‘When I met James, I said “I would love to do something challenging but the epilepsy would get in the way”. James said “do not be stupid” and we began to look at things we could do.’

The pair debated climbing Everest or cycling round the world, which would both prove difficult if Ashley had a fit.

They settled on the row, which will see them set off from Geraldton, Western Australia to Port Louis, Mauritius, in April 2015.

Ashley said: ‘Surprisingly if I have a fit in the water it is very safe.’

James will be going on training at Young Epilepsy to help him deal with the seizures.

There have been only four successful attempts by a pair to row the Indian Oceans, making it one of the least-rowed oceans in the world.

Ashley is in training at Fareham Leisure Centre because his epilepsy means he cannot train alone.

Ashley and James are looking for sponsors, and in particular need to find a boat to complete the challenge.

For more go to or call 07725 478919.