Intrepid Doncaster Royal Marine to row 3,000 miles across Atlantic Ocean

An intrepid former Royal Marine is set to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a gruelling and remarkable fundraising expedition.
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William Harpham-Sheldon, who comes from Bessacarr, will be part of a team of ex-Marines taking on the mammoth journey from Gran Canaria to Barbados in December.

The Atlantic Assault challenge aims to raise more than £100,000 for the Royal Marines Charity and will see William and his group of comrades confronting sleep deprivation, salt sores, Atlantic storms, busy shipping lanes and physical extremes on their tortuous 50 day challenge.

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They will also be taking on the challenge unsupported – meaning they will be completely isolated with no support vessels nearby.

Royal Marine William Harpham-Sheldon is taking on the gruelling challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.Royal Marine William Harpham-Sheldon is taking on the gruelling challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
Royal Marine William Harpham-Sheldon is taking on the gruelling challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

The former Commando, 27, who now runs The Harpham Company, a youth theatre school in Sprotbrough with partner Olivia, said: “I want to take on the incredible challenge of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean unsupported because of the values and commando ethos instilled in me during my time in the Royal Marines, particularly the sense of duty and service, continue to drive me.

"By embarking on this demanding expedition with Atlantic Assault, I aim to not only raise crucial funds for the Royal Marines Charity but also to inspire others to face their own challenges with determination and to never lose sight of the importance of helping those in need.”

He added: “Our mission is twofold: to test our physical and mental limits while raising crucial funds for the Royal Marines Charity. This endeavor is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our fellow servicemen and women, and it brings attention to a cause that holds deep significance for us.”

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The Atlantic Assault team is made up of former and serving Royal Marines and the journey will involve grueling shifts of two hours on and two hours off, as the team rows ceaselessly, burning around 6,000 calories each day.

Training on the tiny 7m long rowing boat is already under way in Southampton.

Added William: “The primary goal of this extraordinary expedition is to raise funds that will directly benefit the Royal Marines community, particularly injured veterans and those transitioning to civilian life.

"This support encompasses a wide range of initiatives, from rehabilitation programs to family assistance, reflecting the comprehensive nature of the Royal Marines Charity's mission.

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During his time in the Royal Marines from 2015 to 2019, William specialised in communications and he added: “It gave me the incredible opportunity to develop a diverse skill set.

"My role taught me the importance of clear and efficient messaging even in the most challenging environments, including mountain, Arctic and cold weather warfare, which brought a unique set of challenges and skills that I am immensely proud of.

"One of the highlights of my service was my deployment to the Caribbean as part of the UK's humanitarian response to the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, known as Operation Ruman. It was a time when I saw the strength and resilience of communities in the face of natural disasters, and it left a lasting impact on my commitment to service and helping others.”

The annual race will begin in early December and will see the Atlantic Assault team competing against up to four other crews from around the world.

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There are a number of sponsorship and donation packages available and you can donate to the campaign to raise £100,000 HERE

You can find out more about the challenge at and follow the progress of the expedition on Facebook - and Instagram -

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