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Boat with ex marine

Royal Marine who will take on ‘world’s most dangerous row’ inspires Burnley College Sixth Form Centre students

Burnley College Sixth Form Centre’s 2020 programme of exciting and educational extra-curricular activities started in style with a visit from Lancashire-born Royal Marine Commando Matt Mason, who is taking on ‘the world’s most dangerous row’ this summer as part of Ocean Revival 2020.

Matt brought in the specially-designed boat in which he and three fellow serving and former Royal Marines will attempt the 3,700-mile crossing, from Brooklyn Bridge, New York, to Tower Bridge, London, in an epic journey which could take up to 100 days. The Ocean Revival team hope to make it into the record books as this is the first time this particular route has been attempted, although the notorious North Atlantic crossing itself has been attempted 72 times, with only 29 successes and has claimed the lives of six rowers.

Students were fascinated to hear about the arduous physical and psychological preparation needed for the challenging row which will call upon the elite levels of fitness, resilience and mindset demanded by Marines, the UK’s world renown rapid response force. Matt also explained how the team will attempt to harness the power of the Gulf Stream to aid their crossing, and again make the record books as the first unsupported crew to travel the furthest in 24 hours.

During the day-long visit, students also had the opportunity to view the cramped conditions the elite team will experience as they row two hours on, two hours off, for the entire journey, facing huge waves and unpredictable weather conditions on the route that sank the Titanic.

Sports students and the College’s Elite Athletes also tested their strength and fitness over 300m on a rowing machine against a time of under 50 seconds set by Matt, who completed a Mid Atlantic Ocean row in 2014, in 32 days, 22 hours – a world record time for an eight-man crew. He has also

cycled across Europe, including London to Rome, Amsterdam to Budapest and London to Paris, to raise funds for charity and last year appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’.

The Ocean Revival 2020 adventure will see the team raise in excess of £45,000 for their chosen charities – the Royal Marines’ Charity and Plastic Oceans, which is raising awareness of the impact of single-use plastic on our oceans.

He said:

“It was rewarding to meet the students; hear their passion for protecting the environment and gain an insight into their commitment to make a difference as global citizens. Their understanding of the threat posed by plastic in our oceans was impressive and it was obvious they had researched and thought deeply about the issue.

“Some of the times achieved by the sports students in the rowing challenge really blew me away – they’re obviously at the very top of their game and showed real determination.”

Deputy Principal Simon Jordan said:

“Many thanks to Matt for taking time out of his busy schedule to bring the Ocean Revival 2020 message to Burnley College Sixth Form Centre: we were honoured to be one of the first venues in the North West to welcome him. It was an inspirational day and a great start to our 2020 programme of extra-curricular activities.

“Our students share many of the traits that have led to Matt’s success – both in his professional career and charity work: determination, dedication, innovation and the drive to always be the very best. They were excited to hear how these attributes can be a force for good and help to change the world.

“The Student Voice is at the heart of everything we do at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre and has driven our sustainability agenda which includes significant use of renewable energy, extensive recycling and rewilding of our Campus. As a College community, we are committed to preserving our planet’s vital resources and hope to act as a catalyst for the wider community to become more aware of the role they can play, too.

“We would like to wish Matt and the team every success on their epic adventure. Our students are already looking forward to seeing him on his return and hearing about the crossing.”

Learning at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre does not just take place in the classroom, laboratory or workshops. Every student has the opportunity to enjoy new experiences; hear expert speakers and travel to new places; meet inspirational visitors like Matt and learn through hands-on activities and challenges. Find out more online at www.burnley.ac.uk.