A teenager from Preston is set to become the youngest soldier in the world, and the third youngest person ever, to row across the Atlantic Ocean.Advertisement
Kian Helm, 17, a Kingsman undergoing training to join the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, has embarked upon a gruelling fitness regime with three other servicemen to get ready for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in late-December.
Kian, a former pupil at Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Fulwood, said: “I’m looking forward to working together as a team and getting to the finish point.
“This is the first time we’ve all got together and it’s a good feeling.”
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Kian will join the British Army’s team, Force Atlantic, which will row 3,000 miles of ocean – more than double the distance of Preston to Malta – over the course of several weeks in potentially treacherous weather.
Speaking about what challenges the effort posed, the Catterick-based Kingsman, Kian, said: “I’m least looking forward to seasickness!
“I will miss home but my family have been very supportive and they are
going to fly out and meet me at the finish line.”
The trip will see Kian and his three colleagues, including the Commanding Officer of Army Foundation College Harrogate, Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall, row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies.
Team members will have to be self-sufficient during the endeavour, which will mean having to undergo specialist training in sea survival, navigation by the stars and even how to use the toilet at sea.
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Despite being a newcomer to the sport, Kian says he is in an optimistic mood about the daunting task: “My family are very proud of how far I’ve come.
“I think this challenge will help me in my career ahead.
“The strength and conditioning training I’m doing for rowing will help me massively in the Infantry.”
A video of the team’s plans and training can be seen on Facebook here.
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