Former marine commando and counter terrorism specialist, Mike Bates will leave the UK on 28th November to start the 3000-mile Talisker Atlantic Challenge to row single handed across the Atlantic.

40-year-old Mike, from Roundhay has raised over £160,000 for Leeds Hospitals Charity which will help benefit some of Leeds Children’s Hospitals smallest patients.

Some of the funds Mike has raised will help poorly children on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, where his son Gabe was cared for after contracting meningitis. Gabe was born 11 weeks premature, weighing just three pounds, in February 2011.

Amy Allen, Ward Manager on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit said:

“We’d all like to wish Mike good luck ahead of his epic solo challenge across the Atlantic! Thanks to inspirational fundraisers like him, Leeds Hospitals Charity can fund projects to improve the hospital experience for our patients and help make hospital a little brighter for some of the sickest children and their families.”

Gabe made a full recovery and has grown into a happy, strong little boy, however, his father kept the trauma of his baby son’s almost fatal illness bottled up and now, over 10 years later, Mike Bates has found a way to thank the hospital that saved Gabe’s life.

Mike will set off on his 3,000 miles challenge from the Canaries to Antigua on Monday 12th December and should arrive 50-60 days later in early February 2023.

Ahead of his challenge, Mike told us:

“I am truly grateful to Leeds Children’s Hospital and the care they have provided for my son and all children they look after. I decided to take this challenging test to thank them and help support them. It's going to push me to do something I'm not that comfortable with, and I'm not really built for rowing as I am only 5ft 8in.

I'll battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores and the physical extremes inflicted by the race. Left alone with my own thoughts, the expanse of an ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side, I will be thinking of my family and of course my son Gabe and why I have taken on this challenge."

Mike has received incredible support from businesses who have sponsored his challenge, including Leeds based specialist litigation law firm ARMA Litigation who are proud to support Mike Bates in his solo Atlantic row in December.

After serving his country for 20 years in the Royal Marine Commandos in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mike then became a Human Intelligence specialist and Counter Terrorism Covert Operations Leader, mike chose to step away from his stellar career.

He then set up a very successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in Leeds and on his return from the Atlantic, he will be writing an autobiography about his remarkable life.

Commenting on ARMA’s support for Mike, Rajat Sharma, managing partner at ARMA Litigation said: “Mike is a remarkable man. Incredibly, more people have been into space than have attempted this feat alone. We are proud to support Mike who embodies everything that is unique to ARMA and shares our values as relentless and tenacious fighters and our commitment to diversity to serve the wider community.”


Donate to Mike's fundraising page here. 

You can track Mike's progress here.