Serving fire fighters, Stuart Vince from St Mary’s Fire Station in Southampton and Craig Sadler from Cosham Fire Station in Portsmouth, are taking on the challenge of a lifetime.


Stu, Craig and fellow colleague Adam Bundle, have had to overcome some form of mental health problems during their working life; through the tragic loss of colleagues, the regular pressures of making life and death decisions and attending dangerous incidents on a daily basis. Through this trauma, the Minds Matter concept was born.

It is through Minds Matter, that Stu, Craig and Adam support mental health awareness, regularly holding mental health workshops and fundraising for charities. Now, supported by toob, their biggest fundraising challenge has begun, with Stu and Craig preparing to row across the Atlantic Ocean in December 2022 to raise funds – with a £50,000 target – for Solent Mind and the Fire Fighters Charity.

37 days
37 days
rowing across the atlantic
2 hours
2 hours
each rowing on and off
3,000 nautical miles
3,000 nautical miles
in total to row

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is known as the world’s toughest row. It takes place over 3,000 nautical miles of treacherous, shark infested waters from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua & Barbuda.

Throughout the journey, Craig and Stu are likely to battle sleep deprivation, 20ft waves, salt sores, huge calorie deficits, hallucinations, minimal shelter and homesickness – particularly on Christmas Day. They will be left with nothing but their thoughts, the vast ocean and the arduous task of getting the boat safely across the pond.

Their fundraising goal is high, but this is to ensure they have the strength and endurance to reach their goal.

One in four people will experience some form of mental health issue in a given year. Mental health issues are responsible for 72 million working days lost, costing £34.9 billion each year. Poor mental health severely impacts on individuals and their families, especially those in the emergency services. (MHFA England, October 2020)

With a proactive approach to sponsorship, the guys are determined to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, reduce the stigma of mental ill health, educate and train people to become Mental Health First Aiders, as well as raising £50,000 in total for their chosen charities: Solent Mind and The Fire Fighters Charity

This challenge is highly physically demanding and very few people have successfully completed it (3,000 miles in 37 days – this will beat a record previously set back in 2019). Stu, Craig and Adam have been supported in their preparation by students and staff at Southampton Solent University who have been and will continue to train them to reach peak physical condition before setting on.

They trio are also training others through Mental Health First Aider courses available for staff to attend, raising awareness of mental health in the workplace.

Watch Manager Adam from St Mary’s Fire Station in Southampton was originally due to participate in the row, however will now be now taking a back seat in the challenge, focussing on his role as Stu and Craig’s first reserve.

In the event of any unforeseen circumstance that results in either Stu or Craig not being able to undertake the race, Adam will be on hand to step into their shoes if needed. He will also be supporting shoreside when the pair undertake the challenge across the Atlantic, whilst also training and fundraising by their side.

toob are thrilled to be main sponsors for the Minds Matter Atlantic challenge. We are fully behind Stu, Craig and Adam, supporting their endeavours in mental health awareness.

Sponsors are still needed for the challenge, as well as donations to meet their £50,000 target across the charities. See the sponsorship pack below, for more information.

> click for the sponsorship pack

support the minds matter charities 




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