Father and sons take on 3,000 mile rowing challenge to support hospice

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 August 2018

The Trafford family meet St Christopher's physio. Picture: Chris Brown

The Trafford family meet St Christopher's physio. Picture: Chris Brown

©Chris Brown All Rights Subject To Licence Agreement

A solicitor and his two sons will be taking on a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to fundraise for St Christopher’s Hospice, which works across Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.

From left: James Trafford, Joe Trafford, St Christopher's JCE Heather Richardson, Hugo Trafford. Picture: Chris BrownFrom left: James Trafford, Joe Trafford, St Christopher's JCE Heather Richardson, Hugo Trafford. Picture: Chris Brown

Although in the past James Trafford has skippered a yacht, this time he’ll be rowing 3,000 miles with two of his five children.

James and his sons Hugo, 22, and Joe, 18, are in training to row across the Atlantic Ocean, setting off in December as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

To help spur on their training, they visited the hospice this week and spoke to patients, volunteers and staff to hear how the money they raise will help people live their lives to the full.

Through taking on this challenge, the Traffords are helping St Christopher’s to continue to provide crucial services and offer emotional, spiritual and physical support for patients and families.

On their estimated 60-day journey across the ocean, the Trafford team will need to take all their supplies and equipment on-board their boat - named St Christopher’s - as they will only have a satellite phone to communicate intermittently with the world.

The trio will take turns to row in shifts, alternating between two hours of rowing and two hours of rest all day and night, every day for at leats two months.

The family hope to raise over £500,000 for St Christopher’s, a charity close to their hearts.

James said: “We’re all really excited to get this rowing challenge underway, but I must admit other people’s reactions are starting to unnerve me!
“Of course there’s the physical side of the crossing, and for that we’re training hard in the gym and in the boat, but the mental challenge we’re going to face is probably the toughest part.

“We’re unlikely to see any other vessels once we’ve left port in the Canary Islands, so it’s just the three of us, with no-one on the horizon for months.

“We’ve also had to learn all kinds of survival skills - taking courses on first aid, crisis planning, even how to scale the side of a ship in an emergency.”

He added that what spurs him on is the family’s goal to raise thousands of pounds for the hospice.

“It’s an amazing place, with inspirational staff who take so much care to make poeple’s lives the best they can be, even if they are at the end of their life,” he said.

“Through their teaching programmes they are also helping people across the UK to be better supported when they are dying or bereaved, which is so important and often doesn’t get talked about enough. If we can support the hospice in just a small way, we will feel that we’ve really achieved something.”

Heather Richardson, joint chief executive at St Christopher’s, said: “We are thrilled and amazed that James, Joe and Hugo are supporting St Christopher’s through a row across the Atlantic!

“Their super-human efforts will help us make a real difference to lots and lots of people who are struggling with the challenges of death, dying and loss.”

To donate to James, Joe and Hugo’s mission, please visit

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