Guy Rigby and David Murray – with a combined age of 124 – made the row to raise funds for UnLtd, a charity that supports entrepreneurs from marginalised communities
Guy Rigby, 68, and David Murray, 56, have become the oldest pair ever to row across any ocean – in ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’, a 24 foot rowing boat – alongside 35 other teams at this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Chartered accountant Guy, founder and Chair of the Entrepreneurial Services Group at Smith & Williamson, and his fellow crew member David, entrepreneur, investor and sports enthusiast, set off on 12th December from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. After rowing two-hours-on-and-two-hours-off for 50 days across 3,000 nautical miles – facing wind, 20ft waves and living on dehydrated food rations – the team successfully reached Antigua today.
Guy and David made the incredible row to raise money for UnLtd, a charity that finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs in the UK. In his role at Smith & Williamson, Guy spent many years working with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses – and witnessed the positive impact of entrepreneurship on wealth and job creation. However, he was keenly aware of the obstacles faced by aspiring entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds, including women, people with disabilities and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. The charity is committed to inclusion, with 50% of its funding awards going to social entrepreneurs from marginalised communities.
To date, Guy and David have raised a total of over £600,000 with the support of some of the most influential businesses in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including Smith & Williamson, Mishcon de Reya and Crowdcube. They are also supported by Tech Nation, Founders Forum, London Tech Week and FieldHouse Associates.
Rigby said: “Being able to row through the darkness, the light and the stormy conditions has been the highlight for me over the past few weeks. The night time rowing – and the sunrises and sunsets – have been stunning. However, like every extraordinary journey in life, it has a finite timeline and I am looking forward to ‘real life’ and seeing my family and friends. Not to mention, after a brutal regime of ‘eat, sleep and row’, a hot shower and proper sheets!”
“We are incredibly grateful for the donations which have been pouring in for Unltd, to support social entrepreneurs start and build businesses that are beneficial to their communities and the wider world. We look forward to helping execute the deployment of these funds once we arrive back on land.”
Murray added: “Everything has been amazing and I have really embraced the solitude and the night skies, being able to get away from ‘everyday life’ and really reset. I have learned a lot about myself. When you are tired mentally and physically you go to some extraordinary places. I can’t wait to return back to land to see family and friends – and also the funds we have raised being used to help social entrepreneurs who typically find it difficult to fund their enterprises.”
Julian Hall, founder of Ultra Education, a social enterprise that provides entrepreneurial education to children and young people regardless of their background said: “A huge congratulations to Guy and David on making it to Antigua. With the proceeds going to such an amazing organisation like UnLtd, we were delighted to be part of the fundraising campaign and have been blown away by their dedication!”
Mark Norbury, Chief Executive at UnLtd commented: “Congratulations Guy & David on your momentous achievement! We are deeply honoured to have been a part of your journey. We are blown away that these efforts have raised over half a million pounds, which will go to supporting social entrepreneurs on their own journeys into the unknown. As we eagerly cheered you on throughout the row, we especially admired how you demonstrated the qualities of social entrepreneurs: resilience, creativity, and a determination to make society better. It is a long way across the Atlantic, and we commit to ensuring this funding will go to similar lengths in building an economy driven by inclusivity and community.”
£600k raised as oldest pair breaks record rowing across the Atlantic in ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’