Team Tyne Innovation seeks support for ‘world’s toughest row’ 

September 3, 2017

The former chief executive of Reece Group is looking to showcase North East innovation – and physical determination – when he and two team mates tackle next year’s Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 

A North East businessman is in a race against time to finance a gruelling cross-Atlantic charity challenge.

Former Reece Group chief executive Phil Kite and his two teammates plan to showcase the best of the region’s innovation when they take on the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3000-mile race known as the world’s toughest row.

Team Tyne Innovation will spend 40-70 days at sea in a 25ft boat encountering 50ft waves in December 2018. But before they can cross the start line, they must meet their £100,000 fundraising target.

Now, Phil, chair of EEF’s North East regional advisory board, is appealing to the region’s business community for sponsorship.

The 56-year-old said: “The idea of the rowing challenge is to support the region by showcasing innovation generated by our businesses and universities while raising money for some incredibly deserving charities.

“The North East has always been a hub for innovation and in completing our challenge we’re going to showcase that innovation to the world.

“But to do so we need the support of the local business community. We’re offering a range of sponsorship opportunities and hope everyone will get behind us.”

Phil will be joined by teammates Dave Higgins, a mechanical engineer, and Guy Clack, a software product manager. The trio are members of Tyne Amateur Rowing Club, in Newburn, Newcastle.

The team is offering North East businesses and universities the chance to market their innovation within the challenge by incorporating ideas that will improve the design and function of boat, improve the crew’s physical performance, provide protection from the elements, generate efficient solar power, improve telecommunication, tracking and data collection, and maintain the health of the crew.

Team Tyne Innovation is hoping to raise over £100k to complete the race and support its charities. A range of sponsorship opportunities are available on the website, including Gold, Silver and Bronze for businesses, the Plus 250 Club and Just Donate for individuals.

Local charities being supported include Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care and the Stroke Association.

Team Tyne Innovation 
Details on the team’s approach to the challenge can be found at

Scroll to next article
Go to

Supporting role: Ian McElroy and Emma Black