An army veteran from Bury is building up to rowing across the Atlantic Ocean on his own in aid of a close cause. 

Alan Fortuin, 65, served in the army for 35 years and has completed many gruelling fitness exploits before.

But the Hollins man plans to row across the Atlantic in 41 days when he sets off in December next year.

He aims to set off and finish the challenge before the day he turns 67 on January 21, 2026.

Mr Fortuin is taking on the huge feat to raise money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

He said: “My grandmother was blind but she never had a dog.

“I have always been fascinated by guide dogs, they are just brilliant.”

Solo rider Mr Fortuin will soon be collecting his boat for the trip.

So far he has completed 23 million metres in training, the equivalent of five Atlantic crossings.

To showcase his work and his fundraising efforts, Mr Fortuin attended Castle Leisure Centre In Bury where he rowed 25km in two hours.

During the Atlantic challenge, which will run from the Canary Islands to Antigua, he will aim to do 12km in two-hour stints.

So far Mr Fortuin has raised £3,000 and has set an ambitious target of £125,000.

Among the quotes he takes from inspiration is one by Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa which says: “We must endure pain and burn it as fuel for our journey".

His fundraising effort can be supported here.

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Mr Fortuin said: “Over the last 35 years I have completed a number of endurance challenges raising money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind, however, this will be by far my most demanding challenge to date.

“As such I have been training for this event for the last two and a half years, and currently spend up to three hours a day six days a week on an indoor rowing machine, as well as rowing on flat and coastal waters and cycling.

“It is my intent to raise money for, and awareness of, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

“The Guide Dogs are the inspiration behind my team name 'The Old See Dogs', I say team even though I intend to row solo, as every individual who supports me, in any capacity, becomes a member of the team by default.”