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Roundhay Resident Set to Row Solo Across the Atlantic for Macmillan Cancer Support

By July 31, 2019 Interviews-Leeds
Silhouette of a Man Rowing on Water

Roundhay resident, Marcus Beale reveals how his family’s fight with cancer has spurred him on to row solo across the Atlantic to raise over £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.


Hi Marcus, so tell us what’s behind your daring venture!

I thought, what’s the toughest thing I could possibly think of, and decided rowing across the Atlantic solo was definitely up there – especially as I’d never rowed before in my life! So from December 12th, I’ll be spending my Christmas and New Year rowing 5,000km from San Sebastian in the Canaries to English Harbour in Antigua as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

My fundraising target is £101,683, which is enough money to fund a Macmillan support centre in Yorkshire to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a year. I’m self-funding every expense, from competition entry to the boat, because I want every penny raised to go to them.

Why have you chosen Macmillan Cancer Support?

Cancer has featured heavily in my life – I lost a parent, sibling, best friend, auntie and uncle to the disease, all within the last few years and my mother and sister are currently in remission. But Macmillan have been really amazing, not just in helping those passing, but helping our family cope with the challenging situations that arise as a result. Having volunteered in these support centres, I’ve realised they rely 100% on donations to perform the great work they do, so I just want to say thank you and do my small bit to make a difference.

What’s your background?

​I was born in Devon, but moved up here to study Law at University of Leeds. I met my wife, Susanne here and we now live in Roundhay with our two children – both are pupils at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) and top-level athletes in their own right. Charlotte is part of the England pathway for netball and Ben is in the England development programme for rugby. I’ve visited GSAL a number of times to host assemblies – the children were fascinated when I showed them my boat.

How can readers get involved?

3.5 billion people are going to see my boat when it lands in English Harbour, so in return for a donation, businesses can have their logo on the side – and many of the North Leeds Jewish community have already been kind enough to do so.

We’re holding a ball at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on 7th September where readers can enjoy dinner and a dance, enjoying music from Kudos, a wonderful 14-piece band while sipping nautical-themed cocktails.

You can also come down to Victoria Quarter on 10th August, where you can watch me on a 24-hour row outside Harvey Nichols. So if any readers are passing, I’ll have a second rower they can jump on and row along with me!

To find out more about the challenge, or to donate, visit