This week the Bacon Theatre was full to the brim with pupils eager to hear about the adventures of Charlie Martell.

Charlie is a former Royal Engineer Commando, trained in Explosive Ordnance Disposal, who left his military career to put his skills to use in the humanitarian sector as a demining specialist. After years working in post-conflict situations in countries such as Angola, Georgia, Sudan, Nepal and Mozambique, Charlie was moved by the courage of these communities and decided to turn his hand to fundraising.

In 2006 Charlie and three military team mates took part in the inaugural Shepherds Ocean Fours Rowing Race, a 3100 nautical mile odyssey across the previously unconquered North Atlantic rowing route. Completing the treacherous journey from New York to Mevagissey enabled the team to raise over £250,000 for the Meningitis Trust. But Charlie’s adventures did not end there.

Six years later, he decided to take on the challenge of rowing solo across the Pacific. 6000 miles of solitude for 133 days in a 7 meter boat. A month into his challenge, Charlie was hit by Typhoon Mawar, causing extensive damage to his boat Blossom. Unable to continue, he was forced to activate his emergency beacon, only to be told by the Japan Coast Guard that it would take 41 hours to rescue him! He was thankfully rescued after 37 hours by a passing ship. “Those 37 hours were, without a doubt, the longest hours of my life”, Charlie said. He told the pupils that the boat had been painstakingly repaired to her former glory and everyone was excited to hear that the new and improved vessel was waiting for them outside.

Charlie spoke with great passion about how he plans to return to the Pacific to complete his mission in the newly repaired Blossom in 2018. His inspiring and epic tale provoked many questions from the pupils including questions about the design of the boat, how long it took to make and repair and even who Charlie loves more – Blossom or his wife! After the Q&A pupils were keen to go and meet the famous Blossom, parked up outside the Bacon Theatre.

The whole School wishes Charlie and Blossom the best of luck on their Pacific18 expedition and will be following their journey via his blog and social media with baited breath.

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