Denmead grandad who ‘never rowed before’ sets world record after completing 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

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A GRANDAD from Denmead and his Parachute Regiment pal are celebrating after becoming the oldest pair to row any ocean. 

Jubilant scenes unfolded as Hampshire man Peter Ketley and Neil Young, from Berkshire, arrived in Antigua yesterday after completing a 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic. 

The pair took on the gruelling feat as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – having ‘never rowed before’ just 18 months ago. 

Emotional scenes unfolded as they were greeted by fans, who know them as the Grandads of the Atlantic, and their loved ones as they arrived at Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour. 

Speaking to organisers, Peter, 62, said: ‘[I feel] exuberant – ecstatic. I’ve got so many things going through my mind. It’s just the best feeling to have at last got here.

‘We’re really pleased and all the family’s here... It’s just the best feeling ever.’ 

He added: ‘It just goes to show if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.’ 

Having set off from the Canary Island of La Gomera, the long-time friends were unassisted in their journey and finished after 63 days and 22 minutes 

But with little between them, their boat Pegasus and the roaring ocean – it was tough. 

Neil, 61, from Bracknell, said: ‘We’ve had some scary times to be honest. Anyone who says it’s a doddle rowing the Atlantic is a liar. It is pretty frightening.

Peter Netley from Denmead and Neil Young, from Bracknell, Berkshire arrive at the Nelson's Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua - completing the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Picture: Ted Martin

Peter Netley from Denmead and Neil Young, from Bracknell, Berkshire arrive at the Nelson's Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua - completing the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Picture: Ted Martin

‘You’ll see if you look carefully at our boat we’ve got a snapped oar, the rowlock plate is completely bent where a wave hit it and we’ve had all sorts of other problems as well. It’s been quite a challenge.

‘But we’ve enjoyed it and we knew we’d get here in the end.’

Peter and Neil completed the effort in aid of Hampshire-based charity Dreams Come True, Royal British Legion Industries and Support Our Paras, raising more than £29,000. 

The pair were pictured training on the infamous tidal flow of Portsmouth Harbour in July and they later took part in the Great South Run in October. 

Neil Young and Peter Ketley celebrate after arriving in Antigua. Picture: Atlantic Campaigns

Neil Young and Peter Ketley celebrate after arriving in Antigua. Picture: Atlantic Campaigns

Upon arrival on Wednesday, they were given a military welcome by the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and the Antigua and Barbuda Coastguard.