Bradford duo to row the Atlantic Ocean for neonatal babies

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity is urging people to get behind ‘Team Hell Oar High Water’, as they take on the world’s toughest row next month to raise money for neonatal babies and their families.

Chris Nicholl and James Tordoff, both from Bradford, will start their challenge from the Canary Islands on 12 December, rowing more than 3,000 nautical miles to the Caribbean as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

They will row an average 1.5 million oar strokes to cross the ocean, following a strict, non-stop regime of two hours of rowing and two hours of sleeping, cooking and eating, between them.

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official charity partner of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – is one of three charities the pair have chosen to fundraise for as part of their epic journey.

James said: “When we signed up to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge it was an easy decision for me to select Bradford Hospitals’ Charity as one of our chosen charities.

“Three years ago, my family was hit hard with the premature arrival of my nephew Jacob. Jacob spent six weeks in the Neonatal Unit at Bradford Royal infirmary, where staff tended to him day and night. The level of care and support that not only Jacob received, but also his parents, was incredible and we are forever grateful. Without this hospital and its team, or if Jacob had been born at home, he would never have survived.

“The money raised for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity will be donated exclusively to the Neonatal Unit. It’s important that the unit gets the extra funding from the charity to improve the facilities for babies and their families.”

Chris and James had no rowing experience at all when they signed up for the challenge and so have had to learn everything and commit to the grueling training regime.

James said the pair both felt completed prepared for the challenge, as well as excited.

“The last two years have been very busy for us with training, corporate meetings, events and getting all the equipment that we require, that we haven’t really had the chance to get nervous. However now our boat, named Persistence, is on her way to La Gomera, we are very aware of the task ahead of us… and we can’t wait!

“We are incredibly thankful to all of our friends, family and corporate sponsors for getting us to the start line. It’s now down to us to get to the finish. We’ll do you proud!”

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We are so grateful to Chris and James for choosing to raise money for their local hospital. Many of our supporters choose to run marathons, abseil and even jump out of a plane, however we can safely say nobody has ever rowed the Atlantic to raise money for our charity before!

“We are currently raising money to create more accommodation to enable parents to stay closer to their babies, so this will give our BIG Neonatal Appeal a huge boost!

“We wish Chris and James the best of luck and can’t wait to talk to them about their adventures when they return!”

Neonatal Matron Kelly Young said: “We are incredibly grateful to Chris and James for choosing our Neonatal Unit. We believe our babies and their parents deserve the very best, which is why we are dedicated to providing facilities which create a comfortable home-from-home for our families when their babies are in our care.

“All the neonatal staff are excited to track Chris and James’ journey across the Atlantic and we will be cheering them on from Bradford!”

If you would like to donate to Hell Oar High Water’s charity fund, you can do so via their website at

To find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and how you can support your local hospitals, visit Alternatively, contact Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email [email protected]


Note to editors


  • Each team will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes over a race.
  • Rowers will row for 2 hours, and sleep for 2 hours, constantly, 24 hours a day.
  • More people have climbed Everest than rowed an ocean.
  • Over €6million has been raised for charities worldwide over the past 4 races.
  • At its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km/5.28 miles deep.
  • The waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high.
  • There are two safety yachts supporting the teams as they cross the ocean. In the 2013 race, one yacht traveled a massive 9000nm!
  • The 2013 winning Team Locura arrived in Antigua with a blue marlin beak pierced through the hull of the boat.
  • Each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing.
  • The teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers.
  • In the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, rowing without a rudder to steer with for nearly 1200miles/40 days.
  • Each rower needs to aim to consume 10  litres  of water per day.
  • Rowers burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day.
  • There is no toilet on board – rowers use a bucket!
  • Each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!

Hell Oar High Water will also raise money for charities CentrePoint and Ben. For more information about the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, visit