Hero Frank vows to stick to dry land in future!

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 18 February 2024

Oldham's very own Ocean rowing champion Frank Rothwell has been firmly anchored to dry land … by his adoring wife.

Frank, aged 73, completed a second 3,000 mile solo Atlantic row for Alzheimer’s Research UK last Thursday after completing a remarkable 64 grueling days, seven hours and 53 minutes journey from La Gomera, Canary Islands to Antigua.

Later, in an interview with Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm from the sunshine island, Latics chairman and co-owner Frank said: “I’m not going to row an ocean again.

"I’ve now become the oldest person to row any ocean solo, not just the Atlantic, and I’m very proud of that.”

And he quipped: “Judith won’t let me go out of the house again.

"She’s going to chain me to the gates. I’m not allowed out. ‘You’re not going out - you’re staying in.’”

And he declared: "My passion is engineering. I love simple, basic, old-fashioned steam engineering. 

"I can do that.

“At the moment, I’m going to do some modifications to my Land Rover - the only coal-powered Lane Rover in the world - so I can drive it on the road.

“I’m also building a steam tractor engine from scratch.

"This is a brand new piece of kit and I’ve done a thousand hours on it so far and I’ll need to do another three thousand hours hours to get it sorted.”

During the radio broadcast Frank linked his interview with tunes which highlighted milestones in his colourful life.

They included: You’ve gotta have heart - Eddie Fisher; King Cotton, a brass band march - John Sousa;  Crown Imperial - William Walton;  Judy in Disguise - John Fred and his Playboys; Every Day - Buddy Holly and The Wanderer - Dion.

Meanwhile, fans are gearing up for a celebration on Frank’s triumphant return to Oldham with Latics playing a home match against Kidderminster at Boundary Park on Saturday (February 24).

Tickets to the game are being offered for £1, with donations going to the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity.

Currently, Frank’s fundraising has has topped £295,000, but for latest updates and to donate, please click here

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