A Press Release from Facing The Atlantic:
Actor Robert Portal (The King’s Speech) and personal trainer James Cash will leave La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 4th 2011 to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Port St Charles in Barbados to raise awareness and money for the charity Facing The World. The charity offers surgery to children with severe facial disfigurements, who are excluded from life simply because of the way they look. Most of the work is done in London at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where surgeons, nurses and support staff volunteer their time to help.
Bert chose this particular charity as its co-founder, surgeon Martin Kelly, was a close friend and he had promised Martin he would do something extraordinary to raise a lot of money for Facing The World.
Bert had initially planned to run the Marathon des Sables but upon Martin’s untimely death in 2008 leaving behind a pregnant wife (actress Natascha McElhone) with two small boys, he decided that not only had the time come for him to fulfil his promise but he wanted to do something even more challenging, something that would really push him to the very limits of his physical and mental abilities and so the Woodvale Atlantic Challenge seemed the only thing to do.
Facing stormy seas, rogue waves and tankers, Bert and James will survive on a diet of 7,000 calories each a day of re-hydrated army rations. Lack of sleep, basic creature comforts and damp conditions will not make for a comfortable ride. However they will take comfort in the knowledge that in doing this they will be helping change the lives of severely disfigured children, allowing them to lead normal lives.
The preparation for the race is more than training in the gym and being out in the boat on the open water. In order to qualify Bert and James must pass ocean navigation and sea survival exams as well as prove their commitment to the race by doing a 24 hour row rowing 2 hours on and 2 hours off, exactly as they will be when out on the ocean. Blisters and sore backs are part of everyday life but it’s essential to be at the peak of their fitness.
Along side the training and preparation of the boat, charity fundraising and boat sponsorship take up an enormous amount of time and Bert and James have a team of people behind them to help.
The most high profile event so far is being held at a London club in March where a variety of people from film stars to politicians will bid for auction items or make pledges to the charity. The black tie evening is starting with a Champagne Reception followed by dinner and auction. Speeches are being made by Bert Portal and Niall Kirkpatrick, Consultant Plastic surgeon in the Craniofacial Unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The auction is being run by President of Christie’s Europe, Jussi Pylkkanen. The list of auction items includes a Belstaff jacket signed by Brad Pitt (jacket is same as the one he wore in Inglourious Basterds), a week in a fully staffed beachside house in Kenya, red carpet tickets to the next X-men premiere, Lanvin handbag donated by Kristin Scott Thomas, VIP Take That tickets, etc, etc, something for everyone. It is a small dinner for only 120 guests but we feel that the more intimate it is, the more hearts will be touched by the charity and Bert and James’s life endangering row.
Please note: add the code TB4FTA (True Blood for Facing The Atlantic) to the note of your donation so we can keep track of how much was donated by True Blood / Stephen Moyer fans.