A DUDLEY borough man is taking on one of the biggest challenges of his life as he aims to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean for charity.

Lee Felton, who grew up in Kingswinford and lived in the borough for most of his life, is taking on the world’s toughest row, when he and three others attempt the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December.

The 30-year-old will start his challenge from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, finishing roughly six weeks later in Antigua. During the challenge he will face 40 foot waves, tropical storms, sleep deprivation, sweltering heat and the psychological challenges of living and working in a turbulent natural environment.

Lee said: “I’ve done a fair bit of travelling and I’ve been involved in some difficult and challenging projects – but this is a completely different ball game.”

Giving up his job as a biology teacher to train for the race, Lee and his three teammates – Tom Hodgson, Ben Davies and Sean Lannon – hope to raise £80,000 for two causes, including human trafficking charity Sport For Freedom.

By taking on the challenge, it would be expected that the group – named Square One Atlantic – would have previous experience of rowing, but that is not the case.

Lee only recently joined Dudley Rowing Club following his first taste of the sport at Dudley Council’s ‘let’s get rowing’ programme in Netherton.

But to prepare for the mammoth task, as well as raise awareness for their epic adventure, Lee and Sean have embarked on an 'urban row', which they started in Bristol last Thursday (August 20) and will finish in Newcastle on Friday (August 28).

During the rowing tour, they also visited Cheltenham, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, as well as spending last Saturday at the Merry Hill Centre and Sunday in Brierley Hill and Tipton.

Lee said: “It was great to come back to Dudley and receive the support we had throughout the weekend.

“We want to raise as much awareness for the race as we can and it was great to see all the people who came to see what we were doing and were really supportive and friendly.

“We are currently sticking to a target of both rowing 60km each day and at the moment we are on target to do that. If we complete it, we will have rowed one million metres by the time we finish on Friday.

“We’re both feeling stronger since taking part in the urban row, but it has taken its toll on us physically and mentally so we are both excited to finish.

“It has been very good preparation, but we are going to have to keep up our fitness and train even harder to make sure we are in peek condition for December.”

To take part in the race, Lee and the crew had to cough up £80,000 between them – with the boat alone costing £40,000.

However, the foursome hope they will be able to sell off their equipment following the race and raise back the £80,000 which will be donated to worthy causes.

Lee now plans to spend the next four months training for the race, as well as drumming up sponsorship and support from local and national businesses to help fund the team.

To donate to Lee's challenge visit www.justgiving.com/squareoneatlantic, or to offer sponsorship visit www.squareoneatlantic.com