British taxi drivers row across Atlantic for charity for military veterans, stroke association and a Tanzanian orphanage

front 2 atlantic row
Photos of ‘Cabbies Do Atlantic Row’ team, Daren Parr, Bob Barber and Stuart Lockhart (from left on boat) arriving at Jolly Harbour early Saturday morning. Welcoming them was organiser Bill Taylor (deck on left) (Photos by Gemma Handy)
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By Robert A Emmanuel

[email protected]

A group of three taxi operators from London have completed the gruelling 3,200-mile journey rowing from Lanzarote, arriving at Jolly Harbour over the weekend.

Observer media spoke to one of the men who call themselves ‘Cabbies Do Atlantic Row,’ after they completed sixty days at sea, competing in the inaugural edition of the Atlantic Dash.

“I feel absolutely amazing, I cannot believe the reception when we got here…this is the first time we have ever been in a boat,” said Daren Parr, one of the three taxi operators.

“There were times I was sitting in the boat, thinking what I am doing here and then thinking to myself, ‘don’t worry Daren, there is only four weeks to go’…but I feel absolutely amazing,” he added.

Parr said the motivation for rowing across the Atlantic was encouraging his family back home to pursue anything they dream of doing, testing himself both mentally and physically as well as raising money for charity.

According to the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans website, Daren Parr, and his row mates, Bob Barber and Stuart Lockhart, have already raised over £25,000 for good causes.

This challenge was inspired to help raise £12,000 for charity for the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, The Stroke Association and a Tanzanian orphanage.

In 2019, as ‘Cabbies Do Kilimanjaro’ they helped to raise £18,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Atlantic Dash aims to encourage people of all abilities to row an ocean and experience the emotional benefits of completing the gruelling expedition.

This was inspired by a taxi driver who suffered a stroke in 2021, and afterwards, the team sought to highlight the issue of stroke among British taxi drivers.

Speaking to Billy Taylor, one of the organisers of the Atlantic Dash, many benefits to be derived from the row.

“The idea behind the Dash is to make the sport of ocean rowing more accessible to more people, so we are trying to keep the cost down and give support from the moment they sign up, [and not neglecting to mention] logistical support to get over, and safety when they are going across the ocean.

“The good thing about ocean rowing is that you cannot get off the boat and so when you come up against a really difficult situation, whether that is physically, mental or emotional, you have to ride through it, so when you come up against something difficult later in life, it enables you to look back,” Taylor, a firefighter, explained.

Another benefit he shared was the time spent away from social media and the internet, enabling one to be “self-reflective.”.

He also spoke about his own motivation in getting involved in ocean rowing.

“A friend of mine from school was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease, and we were trying to find something to give him  – a platform to raise awareness,” he said.

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