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Maritime Hero Award for Dorset sailor who raised £41,000 for charity

by Monica Wilson 9 Apr 2018 20:18 BST
Team Race to Scotland at John O'Groats © Race to Scotland

Avid sailor, father and husband, Ken Fowler (52), from Mudeford in Dorset, has been awarded this year's Maritime Hero Award by Old Pulteney – the single malt Scotch whisky famed for its 'Maritime Malt'. The annual UK wide competition, judged this year by sailing legend Olly Hicks and Mark Jardine, Editor of YachstandYachting.com, aims to recognise and reward the outstanding individuals working within the maritime communities who have contributed in a remarkable way.

Ken, a member of the Highcliffe Sailing Club in Dorset, won the award based on his charity sailing work. During May 2017, Ken single-handedly sailed a 14ft RS Aero from Land's End (Cornwall) to John O' Groats (one of the most Northerly parts of Scotland and near to the Old Pulteney distillery) to raise over £41,000 for Cancer Research and Oakhaven Hospice.

The expedition took over a month to complete and saw Ken sailing alone, tackling terrifying over falls, boat sucking whirlpools, epic dinghy-flattening squalls and terrifying surf beach landings.

To celebrate Ken's achievements, he will be awarded with a £1,000 donation for his chosen charity, a £500 personal cash prize and a special bottle of Old Pulteney.

Sarah Desjonqueres, friend and Press Officer at Highcliffe Sailing Club, who nominated Ken for the award, said:
"I am delighted Ken has won the Maritime Hero Award - he truly deserves it. He's faced some dark moments of solitude whilst on his voyage, including terrifying capsizes which left him clinging on in wild seas with only a small tether to keep man and boat together. As well as experiencing times of great elation as he confronted and overcame his fears. His drive and tenacity enabled him to get up every day and battle through fatigue and pain to reach his goal. He has shown epic bravery, sailing greatness and worked tirelessly to fundraise for causes he believes in."

Olly Hicks, world record-breaking adventurer and judge for this year's awards, said:
"Sailing the seas is a formidable task. You are completely alone, surrounded only by water. Not only is it physically dangerous, it's mentally challenging too. The isolation of being at sea can have detrimental effects on the human mind. For Ken to complete such an adventure single-handedly in aid of causes he believes in is incredible. He's put his life on the line to help others which is why he stood out as this year's deserving winner. Ken is an inspiration to us all."

Karen Walker, Marketing Director for Old Pulteney, said:
"The Maritime Hero Award aims to find the nation's unsung heroes – ordinary people doing extraordinary things within the maritime communities. Ken has demonstrated an incredible achievement, sailing the rough seas in aid of his selected charities and we're incredibly proud to announce him as this year's Maritime Hero."