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Two doctors are rowing across the Atlantic to raise money for the NHS

Two doctors are rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to raise money for the NHS… but with hospitals under huge pressure, how DID they get time off?

  • Charlie Fleury and Adam Baker set off on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge
  • The doctors work in the A&E department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • They were forced to defer it for a year because of commitments in the pandemic

The pressures of the winter season and the Covid pandemic have left the NHS at breaking point.

But two married doctors are getting to grips with a gruelling 40-day charity challenge to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Antigua.

Charlie Fleury and Adam Baker, both 31, set off from the Canary Islands on December 12 along with nine other pairs in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

They hope to use their experience to help research how ultra-endurance sporting events affect men and women differently.

Two married doctors are getting to grips with a gruelling 40-day charity challenge to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Antigua

The doctors work in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

They were forced to defer the trip for a year because of their commitments during the pandemic. The latest statistics show there were 30 Covid patients out of 2,556 inpatients at the hospital on December 19.

Miss Fleury said ahead of their adventure, in which they hope to raise £100,000: ‘The Covid pandemic pushed the race back a year for us as we stepped up our work in A&E. It has been incredibly hard to keep momentum going despite being so mentally fatigued with work pressures, but what good practice to prepare for this ultra-endurance challenge.’

Miss Fleury had the idea for the challenge after camping on a frozen lake in Norway as part of her master’s course in extreme medicine at Exeter University.

The doctors work in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

She later convinced her husband to take part despite him having previously suffered from seasickness. Mr Baker said he was ‘looking forward to pushing through our perceived mental barriers and taking on the extremes of the ocean’. 

He added: ‘We will be so remote and constantly exposed to the elements. This will also enable us to look at the female and male trends in exactly the same race conditions and learn more about this area of research where there are huge gaps in real-time data.’

The couple, whose previous longest row together was just five days, hope to raise cash for various organisations including Devon Air Ambulance, the RD&E charity which supports the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, the RNLI and mental health charity Mind.

Their boat – named Percy – consists of a sleeping cabin about a third of the size of a telephone box. Mr Baker and Miss Fleury have been trained in how to use the likes of a manual water pump in the event their electric pump breaks.

She later convinced her husband to take part despite him having previously suffered from seasickness. Mr Baker said he was ‘looking forward to pushing through our perceived mental barriers and taking on the extremes of the ocean’

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