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London cab drivers row Atlantic for charity

Words by Smiley Team

A charitable group of London cab drivers are preparing to row across the Atlantic to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

In 2023m, the four cabbies will set out to row the 3,200 miles from Lanzarote to Antigua to raise money for The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, The Stroke Association, and a Tanzanian orphanage.

The group – made up of Daren Parr, John Dillane, Bob Barber and Stuart Lockhart – are the ‘Cabbies Do’ team and have already raised over £25,000 for various causes.

All grandads in their 50s who “still love a beer and a curry”, they've shown that anything is possible with their charitable trials including two hikes up Mount Kilimanjaro and one up Meru.

“There were times up there where we were all genuinely frightened for our lives and it made us realise how tough it really is to climb mountains. We’re not mountain climbers, we're just cabbies climbing mountains!”, says Daren. 

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Rowing the Atlantic is by far their biggest challenge so far and it could take them as long as 60 days to get across.

“More people have climbed Everest than rowed across the Atlantic. You’re becoming part of an elite club in a sense, so it’s a real challenge," Daren tells Smiley News. “They say do something scary at least once a day for that adrenaline boost, keeps you alive. Worrying about this row scares me every day but it keeps me focused.”

The original mastermind behind the Atlantic row was friend and colleague Roshan Varma, who unfortunately has since had a stroke and is recovering in an ICU unit.

Daren says that was a real driving factor behind pushing ahead with the challenge, donating to The Stroke Association but also hoping to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“That stroke very nearly cost Rosh his life. A big cause is unhealthy living and not exercising, so that’s one of the big reasons why we’re doing this," Daren adds.

'It gets me emotional even talking about it'

One of the other three charitable causes that the cabbies are raising money for is a Tanzanian orphanage that they came across during their last visit. The land the orphanage resides on has been sold for development and now they need to find the money for a new home.

“To be honest that’s the really hard-end of fundraising, it gets me a bit emotional even talking about it. The kids were so nice and polite, they really touched us," says Daren.

When the cabbies do their row next year, they will be entirely unsupported at sea, rowing 24 hours a day and expect they will each lose at least a stone during the challenge. “This challenge is unbelievable, and I must admit I did think they were joking when they first told us of their plans," adds Vice President of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, Dick Goodwin.

“However, London Cab drivers are made of strong stuff, and I am confident that they will reach Antigua.”

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: To contact the Cabbies do Atlantic Row for more information, to donate or to sponsor the challenge email [email protected].

GET INVOLVED: Want to dip your toes into fundraising? The Swimathon 2022 is now available to enter across the UK in aid of Cancer Research. Find out more here.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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