W Bro Roy Dixon is among four ex-military personnel in training to row across the Atlantic next year. He is WM of Guys Lodge No 395 and a Past Master of Schola Warwicensis No 9321, as well being an active Rose Croix and Royal Arch Mason.
Roy, who still lives in Leamington,was a pupil at Warwick School before joining the Army, ran his own dental practice in Augusta Place, Leamington, after retiring from the Army as a Lt Col.
A former Harley Street dentist once voted 'Dentist of the Year', Roy spent 20 years in the Royal Army Dental Corps where he undertook operational tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and in 2003, as commanding officer, he deployed his field hospital to the Gulf.
"It’s going to be a tough challenge; more people have been into space and climbed Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic," he said. "It’s a real test when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation (two hours on, two hours off for 45 days), which is why the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the world’s toughest row."
Roy, a past chairman of Rugby at Old Leamingtonians RFC, a former president of the British Society of General Dental Surgery and a past president of the English Fly Fishing Association, is still playing rugby in his mid-50s.
"We are all four of the same age and served for 20 years or more – which is why we’re doing this to raise money for the Royal British Legion and the 353 charity (named after Stratford paratrooper Conrad Lewis who was the 353rd soldier to be killed in Afghanistan, aged 24). We will also be raising money for cancer charity Myeloma UK, as one of our lads has it."
After two years of intensive training and preparation, the four men plan to set off from La Gomera on December 10, reaching Antigua between 45 and 55 days later.
The operational costs are £100,000, which they are raising through events and sponsorship. The Warwickshire Golf and Country Club has already pledged financial support.
"We want to give something back and inspire others to achieve the seemingly impossible," he said. “We are touring schools with a very simple message: No matter what the circumstances, dare to dream, step beyond the constraints you believe hold you back and you can achieve amazing things!"