A ROYAL Marine veteran from Yate is set to row across the Atlantic ocean to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

Dad-of-two Jason Gardiner, 36, will row from Gran Canaria to Barbados this December as a team of four with two serving soldiers and and two veterans to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity. The team will be take on the challenge with six other boats from branches of the UK armed forces and veterans.

The route is approximately 4,800km but due to weather and steering the total distance could be 500km more. The record in this class of ocean rowing boat, is 36 days.

Jason conducted a tour of Afghanistan during his service as a commando and represented the Navy and Combined services Boxing team.

The now-tattoo-artist has previously raised money for the RMA by boxing professionally and running in the Marathon des Sables, a 156 mile race over six days in the Sahara Desert

To help raise funds for the row, he and many of his colleagues are doing a raffle with prizes including artwork, clothing, gym sessions and tattoo sessions.

Completing the Royal Marines course helped lay the foundations for the many challenges Jason has undertaken, he said, but a team member he worked alongside on a shipping vessel in the Indian Ocean gave him the push to take on the mammoth rowing challenge.

Jason said: “During my service I’ve lost friends to warfare, suicide and had friends who have life changing injuries. I asked one friend which organisation helped the most and he referred me to the Royal Marines Charity. Since then they have been the charity I’ve raised money for.”

Jason said missing Christmas with his young family will be the hardest part: “My wife has been very supportive but being away for Christmas will be difficult.

“I’ve structured it in my mind that as soon as we set off I’m racing to get back to them and want to make them proud.”

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