Atlantic Body + Soul

Cal MacAninch has been a familiar face on British television for thirty years with shows ranging from Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge and more recently Time, Vigil and Trigger Point. Having spent a lifetime pretending to do things, he is now taking up the challenge to row the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, (that’s right, no stuntmen), a 3000 miles unsupported row across the Atlantic starting in December this year. 

It’s all getting a bit ‘real’. In saying that, he has run the Ben Nevis race, 3 marathon’s and has climbed the Old Man of Hoy amongst other peaks but this is by far his greatest challenge. What’s the worst that could happen! At least if he gets taken by a shark it will do wonders for his back catalogue.

And who better to face this challenge with than four comrades from the same coastal rowing club who he has gotten to know and trust over the last five years. Experienced, talented, committed crewmates who you can trust with your life though not necessarily to buy the next round. Sean Watters (builder), Matt Callis (joiner), Ed Van der Ven (site manager), Alec Martin (company director)who all live in Portobello in Edinburgh and train with and compete for Eastern Amateur Coastal Rowing Club. The ethos as a club is simple: to create a supportive atmosphere which encourages learning, development and opportunity for all to achieve their potential; to engender a collective responsibility to care for the boat, promoting integrity on and off the water in a spirit of trust and transparency while aspiring to the success of personal/ team development and competition wins. These values the team will be bringing to their Atlantic crossing together. 

but what for exactly?

But for what exactly? ‘Meeting Body & Soul Charity, turned this from basically an ‘ego driven’ adventure of a lifetime, to something of purpose. I simply have to do this now. Our young people are suffering and the system to support them is broken. In this year alone, to date over 50,000 UK 17-year-olds have attempted suicide. The rate of psychological distress in young people is increasing. A broken system, is too busy firefighting symptoms to focus on the root causes of poor mental health. The vast majority of young people who die by suicide never seek help before they die, and to add, we will be living with the impact of COVID for years to come, they need our help now.

Body & Soul Charity can literally transform the lives of people who have experienced childhood trauma. Including hundreds of young people each year saved from the depths of suicidal thinking, giving them reasons to live. Twenty five years of demonstrating the power of community, love, kindness and bravery. It’s never too late to heal. With so many peoples mental health battered by the raging storm of this pandemic it is fitting that Body & Soul are there to build resilience and a sense of belonging: the very qualities that our crew will require on our voyage.’

Cal MacAninch

‘The truly brave ones are the ones struggling to overcome childhood trauma. By taking on this challenge of crossing the Atlantic we will be able to empower Body & Soul to continue to do their essential work with those who need it most. For them, we will never give up.’

Alec Martin, Matt Callis, Ed Van Der Ven, Sean Watters and Cal MacAninch- Team Atlantic Body & Soul

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