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1 Boat, 4 Men &
3600 Miles

1 Boat, 4 Men &
3600 Miles

Author: Andy Pond

November 2018 - Updated May 2020

#Marketing #Charity #DirectMail

This a story about inspiration that resonates strongly with me and my colleague, Ollie, who have both lost our fathers this year to Parkinson’s disease - or, to be more precise, aspirating pneumonia and sepsis as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You can’t die of Parkinson’s disease but, to date, there is no cure to this degenerative neurological disease either.

Another colleague of ours, Mike, also has a father suffering late-stage Parkinson’s disease.

So, when an email from Mave Agency landed in my inbox asking if I would be interested in supporting the Row the Indian Ocean fundraising project in aid of Parkinson’s UK, European Parkinson’s Disease Association [EPDA], Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust [RAFT] and Clear Trust charities, I jumped at the chance to do something to help, considering the connection a number of us at Formara have with the disease.

Our small contribution

Mave requested some saddle stitched booklets printed for the Row the Indian Ocean guys to give out and share their vision, motivation and story with potential sponsors at the Monaco and London boat shows. Naturally, Formara agreed to this which helped, in some small way, to secure vital sponsorship deals to bolster the fundraising efforts of this incredible expedition.

So, what is Row the Indian Ocean all about?

The aim of the adventure is to row 3600 miles across the Indian Ocean in world record time [65 days].

Oh yes, and the small matter of trying to raise their target of £200,000 to share amongst the charities.

We at Formara raise our glasses, doff our caps and will be cheering on the team of four guys aiming to complete the row. The team of Billy Taylor, who is captain of the team and an experienced ocean rower, Robin Buttery, Barry Hayes and James Plumley start the ocean row on Thursday 14th June 2018.

Life doesn’t stop with a diagnosis

We’d like to give a special mention to team member Robin ‘Parkie Power’ Buttery. Read his bio and you’ll understand why:

"Robin, 46, lives in Leicester with his wife Nicola and son Rory. He is a Technical Instructor at De Montfort University, Leicester. Robin was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease in June 2015 just before his 44th birthday. Rowing the Indian Ocean is so different to the lifestyle that Robin leads, he is not an adventurer or explorer, but he feels that an experience like this provides a unique opportunity to show others that life doesn’t have to stop with a diagnosis. Working with Oxford Brookes University, Robin hopes the research undertaken will prove to be invaluable for moving the treatment of Parkinson’s disease forward."

These four men in a boat are an inspiration. Please visit their website to find out more about their cause including how to donate: www.rowtheindianocean.com

Fighting Parkinson’s disease with Formara

In August 2016, Formara helped me put on my own fundraising event - Tennis24. We organised over 100 people from all over our local area to play a continuous set of tennis over a 24 hour period. Formara were one of 4 main sponsors for the event which raised nearly £5000 - something I am still quite proud of!


With lots of footage from their Indian Ocean Challenge, Billy and the team have shared a short video of their experiences out on the high seas. Please take 3 minutes out of your day to watch these amazing explorers do their thing!

Since Formara's involvement in the first epic adventure for Billy and his teams, we are pleased to say we have continued to support them with their next challenge.

Billy set up Monkeyfist Adventures, a company dedicated to creating challenges and events for charity. Monkeyfist approached Formara again 2019 to work with them on the latest challenge of rowing across 2 oceans within a year. The team completed the first part of the challenge - just the small matter of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean - but unfortunately the second row across the Indian Ocean has been hampered by the Coronavirus pandemic. They now expect to complete this row in 2021.

At Formara, we work with a number of charities and really enjoy the worthwhile work we do for and with them. Give us a call if you too would like any design, print or marketing support for your charity or email me - andyp@formara.co.uk

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Call our team on 01702 613141 or fill in our contact form to see how we can help.


Call our team on 01702 613141 or fill in our contact form to see how we can help.



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