THE FOUR OARSMEN


 
 
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Dicky Taylor

After spending his early years in Ireland, Dicky's family moved back to Northumberland to pursue the farming life. He attended Mowden Hall School where he met Peter at the tender age of 7 - great friends and teammates, they spent most of the time staring out of the classroom window waiting for rugby practice.

At 13, Dicky won a sports scholarship to Sedbergh School where he encountered George. Nestled between the Dales and the Lake District, Sedbergh offered a great deal in terms of outdoor pursuits and nurtured in Dicky a real love for all things outdoors. On top of his Cricket and Rugby he enjoyed sailing and hiking and was lucky enough to travel to Everest Base Camp with a Royal Marines Team attempting a record breaking North Face summit. After working the family farm he spent a year skiing and travelling with George before heading off to Leeds University where he studied Geography and continued his rugby, playing for the University 1st XV.

After university he landed a job with Accenture that led him down to London for 4 years, before crossing the Atlantic to take up his current role in Houston, TX. He isn't looking forward to all the flights back home for training so he's doing his best to pull the other three oarsmen over to the Wild West for at least 1 stateside fundraiser. 

 
 
 
 
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George Biggar

Son of two high-flying lawyers, and his father an ex-international rugby captain, George's parents set the bar pretty high. George has spent the first 31 years of his life paling in comparison; this is his chance to square the books.

George's school days were spent initially at Beaudesert Park School in Gloucestershire, and then at Sedbergh School in Cumbria. A sporting hotbed, Sedbergh quickly instilled a strong competitive nature in him both on and off the sports field, and whilst it has occasionally got him into trouble, it's the biggest asset he brings to The Four Oarsmen.

Despite having been overlooked by the international rugby scouts, George played for Leeds University 1st XV and Yorkshire Universities. On moving to London, he joined an invitational side, The Merlins, to which he brought his inimitable brand of champagne rugby until undergoing knee reconstruction surgery earlier this year and having to hang up his boots.

Now a lawyer with Taylor Wessing in London, time to pursue any meaningful challenges is limited, but having canoed a stretch of the Delaware River earlier this year with Dicky, George has developed a real penchant for paddling; the Atlantic Row being the obvious next step.

George's father, now brain-damaged and permanently wheelchair-bound following an horrendous car crash in 1992, shows unrivalled determination every day in confronting life's challenges. The grit he shows will inspire George to push through the darker moments during the race, of which there will doubtless be a few!

George will bring an undying commitment to this epic challenge and dedicates his efforts to his late Mum (Anne Fisher) who, after a long-fought battle with mental illness sadly passed away in 2011. George is a massive supporter of the work done by MIND in combating the devastating effects of mental illness, and is extremely proud to raise money and awareness on their behalf.

 
 
 
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Peter Robinson

Raised on a beef farm in Northumberland by a rugby-playing father and event-riding mother, Pete was introduced to competition from an early age. Initially educated at Mowden Hall and then Oundle School, Pete was able to pursue his love for sport and the outdoors. 

Having trained as a Skiing and Scuba Diving Instructor, one of his fondest memories was teaching Dicky and George their open water qualification and seeing George's reaction when he discovered that his air had run out mid-dive. Pete's hoping to avoid similar disasters when rowing the Atlantic. 

Pete went on to King's College London where he trained and qualified as a Physiotherapist before taking a change of direction and going onto become a Chartered Surveyor. It was while working in property that Pete was fortunate enough to spend 5 years working and playing competitive rugby in both Hong Kong and Sydney before returning for a stint in London. 

Pete has recently undertaken a major lifestyle change by returning to Northumberland to farm and intends to stay warm this winter through quiet nights in with his Concept 2 rowing machine. He considers rowing the Atlantic to be the biggest challenge yet which is incentive enough to train harder than he ever has before. He's not a fan of the word "ration" and his biggest concern is how they're going to carry enough food to fuel four 6ft 4in lads in such a small boat!

Pete is passionate about the work done by Spinal Research in their relentless aim to find a cure for spinal paralysis. Particularly having played rugby with Ben Kende who in August 2010 sustained a spinal cord injury while representing Hong Kong (www.bkf.com.hk/bens-story-2). Ben's diagnosis was sudden quadriplegia. By raising this money we aim to give hope to Ben and countless others in their quest for an improved quality of life. 

 
 
 

Stuart Watts

 

Born and dragged up in Gloucestershire by overly-competitive parents, Stuart was introduced to sport at a very young age. He attended Rednock School where he threw himself into everything, enjoying varying degrees of success on the rugby and cricket pitches, as well as the polo field. Having worked on the family farm growing up he decided to continue this on cattle stations in Australia; this is where he truly learnt the meaning of hard work. On his return, he attended Reading University before heading off for a further year travelling the South Pacific. Eventually deciding to settle in London, he landed a job at Pareto Law which inadvertently led to a move to Deltek where he has enjoyed working for the last 6 years.

When Stuart was aged 18, his younger brother Matthew was involved in an horrendous motorbike accident which left him in a coma, with a staggering number of broken bones and severed nerves. Needless to say the outlook was bleak; he was given a 10% chance of survival. Against the odds Matthew pulled through. This traumatic experience instilled in Stuart an appreciation of the fragility of life, that it’s there for living. Matthew has not let life's challenges define him; he is the same selfless, thoughtful and independent person he ever was. It is Matthew's ability to constantly see possibilities where others would see limitations that has inspired Stuart to undertake numerous challenges, the Atlantic Row being no exception.

Stuart is eternally grateful to family, friends and colleagues, past and present, for their continued support in all his exploits. His almost masochistic enjoyment of all types of painful endurance sports will help him train for and complete this huge challenge and helps instill in him a competitive will to exceed others' expectations. It is the lack of sleep that Stuart is most worried about. However, with two fantastic charities to row for and the constant support mentioned above he believes there is ample motivation to knuckle down and row. 


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