A group of ex-service and civilians is attempting to become the first-ever mixed amputee and able-bodied team to circumnavigate Ireland on unmodified SEADOO GTI personal watercraft (PWC).
The group, Ireland 360, set off last Saturday from RMS Titanic in Belfast on the expedition which will see them cover 1500 kilometres in order to raise awareness and funds for Help for Heroes and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), highlighting the charities’ work within local communities in both the UK and Ireland.
The team hope to complete the journey in two weeks, and by doing so demonstrate that no matter what physical or mental obstacles are put in front of people, anything is possible. The four-man team is led by Neil Laughton, a former UK Special Forces officer turned entrepreneur.
He said: It’s a privilege to be a part of a challenge for causes that are so dear to my heart.
“As an ex-serviceman myself, I know the hardships that come after finishing a tour of duty and it’s amazing to see charities like Help for Heroes that are committed to helping our men and women, who have for fought for our country, readjust to civilian life. “It’s been an inspiration working alongside Rory and the rest of the boys, and having such a mixed group has definitely taught me a thing or two. But for now, I just can’t wait to get on the water.”
The rest of the Ireland 360 team is made up of Rory Mackenzie, an army veteran who lost his right leg during the Iraq war; Tim Maw, a director at a property development company; and Mark Shoosmith, the managing director at a specialist vehicle garage.
Mike Loach, BRP commercial manager UK and Ireland said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Around Ireland team with SEA-DOO GTI PWCs for this record attempt.
“Having seen Neil and the team throughout their training for this expedition, we know how hard they are working to ensure they achieve this record and, importantly, raise awareness for all the amazing work Help for Heroes and RNLI do.”