Anthony Ward Thomas, founder of Ward Thomas and one of the owners of Aussie, is about to undertake an extreme challenge as part of fund-raising drive for Naomi House and Jacksplace Children’s Hospice, which support children and young adults with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. Says Anthony, “I am not going to run a marathon, nor am I going to walk to Land’s End. I am instead going to pedal and row the Atlantic, together with my good friend (soon to be close friend) James Ketchell. Personally, I am not the greatest fan of charity appeals, especially when the challenge isn’t a challenge and the charity has no real relevance – “I am doing a 10k walk to save the hippo…” – Do a 10k swim with the hippo, and then we can help! This is a proper challenge for a proper charity”.
You can find out more about Naomi House here www.naomihouse.org.uk and then more about the challenge, including how to donate, here www.pedaltheocean.co.uk. The charity provides individualised care for children and much-needed respite for families, including bereavement support. It is these noble aims which have captured Anthony’s attention. “Discovering Naomi House has made me realise precisely what we, who have never experienced such sickness in children, take for granted – never having experienced enforced separation or the gut-wrenching sorrow and impotence at the death of a child”. Anthony has, with some assistance, designed and built a craft which can be rowed and pedalled simultaneously and the aim is to cross the ocean within 45 to 55 days. “The Atlantic has been rowed many times,” he explains, “but never has it been done with what is essentially an upturned bicycle!” In turn, he asks that you spare a moment to look at the appeal – your donation will make a huge difference to terminally and critically ill children at the very juncture when they need it most. “Charities take a bit of a bashing over the festive season,” Anthony concedes, “but what better time than now?”