Feb 24 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
Atlantic rower returns home to heroes welcome
HE overcame a broken rudder and seriously rationed drinking water to cross the Atlantic for charity.
And when Troon man Alex Mackenzie returned to Ayrshire this week it was to a hero’s welcome.
Alex was part of the Row2Recovery team who rowed across the Atlantic to raise cash for forces charities.
The crew of six ex-servicemen also included four men who had lost limbs while serving in active war zones.
And after 50 days, 23 hours and 12 minutes aboard a 29ft rowing boat, the determined Row2Recovery crew completed their 3000 mile journey.
And Alex returned home this week to celebrate the Christmas he missed with his family.
He said: “I was in the middle of the Atlantic on Christmas Day and this is the first chance I’ve had to get home so we’re celebrating Christmas in February.
“It was a life-changing experience for us all though and I wouldn’t change it.
“It sounds funny to say but going back to work is going to seem like a struggle.
“It’s a very simple life aboard the boat.
“It was obviously hard going but you basically row, eat and sleep, row, eat and sleep. So going back to answering emails and juggling different things will be strange.”
The Row2Recovery crew have currently raised over £780,000 for forces charities but they are determined to reach their target of £1 million.
And Alex has a busy schedule of dinners and events where the crew are talking about their adventure in the hopes of raising even more cash.
He said: “We’ve got events booked all over the place, from London and Nottingham, to Greece and Dubai.
“We’ve had an unbelievable response from everyone, including many from people in Ayrshire, and I’m hopeful we’ll reach our target.”
And Alex kick started his public appearances in the county that raised him.
For the 33-year-old gave a talk to the P1 and P2 classes at Wellington Primary School, where his mum Ginnie is a teacher.
And he even stuck around to watch the pupils race some home made boats of their own.
Every boat in the race was sponsored and all money raised will be donated to Row2Recovery.
He said: “Although the weather for this boat race was a lot different than when we crossed the finish line in Barbados, it was a great day, the kids were just great.
“They were so interested and enthusiastic, and it was lovely to get the chance to talk to them.”
If anyone would like to donate to Alex and the Row2Recovery boys cause visit www.row2recovery.com