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Jump to it: Frank seeks a new test

Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date online: 17 July 2017

OLDHAM businessman and reality TV star Frank Rothwell wants to appear on Channel 4's winter sports programme "The Jump".

Mr Rothwell (67) appeared on "The Island with Bear Grylls" earlier this year and, despite the challenges, has got the appetite for another TV adventure.

The flat-capped founder of Manchester Cabins and Oldham Business Award-winner was one of 16 castaways fending for themselves on a sunny Pacific island for the Channel 4 show.

Now he fancies a trip to the snowy mountains of Austria, where "The Jump" is filmed.

Mr Rothwell loves outdoor adventures. In the past, he has sailed around the world and completed a figure-of-eight journey around North and South America. He gained his Yacht Master Ocean status at night school at Royton and Crompton School.

He revealed his interest in a TV comeback while speaking at a Mahdlo Youth Zone business breakfast event.

He said: "I'd love to go on 'The Jump'. I'm really good at skiing. I can go at 75 mph."

Recalling his experiences on The Island with Bear Grylls, he said his practical engineering skills put him in a minority.

He quipped: "I was badly-done on the island. Nobody else had any practical skills.

"We had to make a raft but the young people spent too much time talking about who would sit where, rather than how to make it float."

However he said TV producers preferred to see a "bit of conflict" or romance between castaways but stressed: "None of that went on for me!"

Mr Rothwell left Newbridge School aged 14 in the mid-1960s. He had no qualifications but strongly felt he wanted to be a 'bulldozer mechanic'. He first worked as a farm labourer then later went to night classes to study a City & Guilds mechanical engineering course. He then worked as a tractor mechanic for four years.

By 1969 he had gained a role with bulldozers on the new M62 motorway being built across the Pennines. He also married his wife, Judith, at the time.

He later spent two years in a Zambian open-cast copper mine then returned to the UK to set up his first business as a digger plant mechanic.


It had its ups and downs, and he faced numerous financial challenges including pressure to sell his own house. From there he then worked in Dubai in the mid-1970s, then just a small settlement 'no bigger than Shaw'. Despite homesickness, he stuck with the job to earn cash.

He returned to the UK in 1978 and set up a new business making workplace accommodation cabins.

The business grew well, selling bedroom units for construction sites and other locations. But it also had to diversify, moving into the leasing of cabins and development of shower units, toilets and student bedroom-study units.

Mr Rothwell said his biggest achievement was being married for 46 years and praised his wife and children, who are part of the firm.

He recommended that young people work in pursuits they love and test their business ideas first as paying hobbies.

Mahdlo chairman Terry Flanagan praised Mr Rothwell's innovation, resilience and support, and presented him with a photograph and Mahdlo mug.


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