Date: Tuesday March 26, 2019 at 8:00am
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A teenager from Preston is aiming to become the youngest soldier in the world, and the third youngest person ever, to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

17-year-old Kian Helm, a Kingsman undergoing training to join the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, has embarked upon a gruelling fitness regime with three other servicemen to get ready for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in late-December.

“I’m looking forward to working together as a team and getting to the finish point,” said Kingsman Helm. “This is the first time we’ve all got together and it’s a good feeling.”

The British Army’s team, called Force Atlantic, will row 3,000 miles of ocean – over double the distance of Preston to Malta – over the course of several weeks in potentially treacherous weather.

Speaking about what challenges the effort posed, the Catterick-based Kingsman Helm said: “I’m least looking forward to seasickness! I will miss home but my family have been very supportive and they are going to fly out and meet me at the finish line.”

The trip will see the former Our Lady’s Catholic High School pupil and his three colleagues, who include the Commanding Officer of Army Foundation College Harrogate, Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall, row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies.

Team members will have to be self-sufficient during the endeavour, which will mean having to undergo specialist training in sea survival, navigation by the stars and even how to use the toilet at sea.

Despite being a newcomer to the sport, Kingsman Helm was in an optimistic mood about the daunting task: “My family are very proud of how far I’ve come. I think this challenge will help me in my career ahead. The strength and conditioning training I’m doing for rowing will help me massively in the Infantry.”​​​​​​

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please call Rhys O’Rourke, Media Officer for Army Media and Communications in the North of England (York Region) on 01904 662020.

Reference: O’Rourke/Force Atlantic Training ​


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