ADVENTURER Frank Rothwell is hoping to be crowned the oldest person to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

He casts off from La Gomera on Saturday and hopes to reach the finish line in Antigua two months later, reuniting with his wife of 50 years, Judith.

Frank is taking on the challenge with the hope of raising £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK, after witnessing the devastating impact of dementia.

To help him get there, Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has agreed to generously double the first £500,000 worth of donations.

There are almost one million people in the UK estimated to be living with dementia, yet no treatments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause it.

The charity’s mission is to bring about the first life-changing treatment for dementia by 2025.

But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the charity had predicted a significant loss of income, meaning Frank’s mammoth fundraising effort will offer a vital lifeline to dementia research.

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, who hosted an in-depth Q&A session online for Frank before he set off date, said: “I was inspired by Frank’s story and wanted to do what I could to support him on his quest.

"He’s chosen to take on a challenge most people wouldn’t even dream of, and he’s giving every penny to a cause close to many people’s hearts.

“By supporting heroes like Frank, and coming together to help charities like Alzheimer’s Research UK, we really can make a difference to people’s lives."

Frank said: “When I first heard about the challenge, I was far too excited about the idea and I couldn’t sleep!

"That was 18 months ago now, and I can’t believe it’s almost time for me to say my last goodbyes and set off from the start line.

"I have enjoyed preparing for the race so far, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

"When people ask me about it, they can’t believe what I’m about to do, and neither can I.

Ian Wilson, the deputy chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: "We’re incredibly grateful to Frank for taking on this enormous challenge in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, and to Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation for their very generous match-funding.

"This year has forced charities to get even more creative when it comes to fundraising.

"Frank’s courageous efforts to raise £1m for dementia research during the pandemic is crucial in helping our researchers to maintain momentum in their search for a much-needed cure.

"We’re hoping the community will rally behind Frank and join us at this virtual event as we cheer him on and show our support from our homes.

"We’re wishing Frank all the best and we look forward to seeing him before he sets off."

Sir Malcolm Walker, founder and executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said: “Having witnessed first-hand the devastation dementia causes, I’m very grateful to Frank for taking on such an incredible challenge for this worthy cause.

"Frank has been a friend of Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation for many years, so it’s our pleasure to help him reach his £1m target by doubling the first £500,000 of donations.

"We hope it will encourage the public to donate and give Frank a well-deserved boost across the finish line.”

People can still donate to Frank’s fundraising challenge online at