Formerly known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Harry’s Million Metres for Melanoma!


Rowing a million metres and  breaking world records are not on the agenda for most of us, let alone those who are reaching the grand age of 80.

However, Harry Townsend is not like most people. At a time when he should really be thinking of hanging up his trainers and settling down to tend his fantasy garden in West Sussex, the prolific fundraiser is back on the case, planning on one final extreme challenge.

Harry is aiming to row a million metres and is hoping to break a world record by getting a million people to sponsor him; this being the highest amount of sponsors for one person for one event.

After his wife Myfanwy died of melanoma in 1999 Harry put his energy raising awareness of this most dangerous type of skin cancer, aiming to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. He set up a charity, the Melanoma Fund, and to kick start fundraising, decided to undertake a few sporting challenges including:
• CLIMBING Mount Kilimanjaro
• TREKKING the Grand Canyon (rim to rim)
• RUNNING the Death Valley Marathon
• WALKING  the 500 mile Pilgrim Trail
• PUSHING his wheelbarrow across New Zealand

To top this he celebrated his 70th birthday by completing the gruelling 5 day ‘100km of the Sahara race’.

Following a recent operation for spinal stenosis, Harry, although still an active gym goer, cannot walk very well, but undeterred, he can row, and having twice rowed a marathon on a Concept2 machine, he has decided to row a million metres to raise £1m for Myfanwy to combat melanoma.

Harry will be undertaking this on-going challenge – hoping to reach his target in around 12 months – at the Kings Leisure Centre Gym in East Grinstead.  Harry will be blogging about his progress on

He is raising funds to help educate, raise awareness and fund research in to finding a cure for melanoma, one of the fastest rising cancers in young people in the UK.

Says Harry “I love a challenge and am grateful that I can still row as my days of walking across deserts and up mountains are well and truly behind me! I would like to inspire people not only to help beat this most awful disease, but also to do something themselves for a good cause. It is never too late or too early!”

Donate Now…


Help Harry raise £1m for melanoma and get over a million people sponsoring the challenge!  You can get involved by donating via the following ways:

Just Giving: Visit or Text HMMM80 £1 to 70070

Alternatively, visit and download a sponsorship form and to find out how your funds will make a difference by helping to beat melanoma… for good!

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Comments (7)

  • Bit of a lull over Christmas, but I’m back on my rowing machine at the Kings Centre in East Grinstead most afternoons: up to 144,000 metres now! Lots of sponsors rolling in ‘off line’: Tracey Hutchings sent a list of 122 sponsors donating £147.00, for instance!

    • Rowing still under way: no time limit fortunately, had a lull for a month or so as I was under the weather with a chest infection, but glad to say that I’m now back on course, picking up sponsors almost daily at my talks, and total on Concept2 website now stands at 190,000

      • Back in the gym now, not walking well, had to stop giving my talks, but fundraising rowing still progressing
        well and up to 226,000 metres. If you’re in the King Centre in East Grinstead afternoons between 4 and 5, you’ve a 50% chance of seeing me in action! If you do, come over and say ‘Hi!’

  • Fantastic Harry, what a challenge for you and I know you’ll do it. Myf would be so proud of all you’re doing raising the awareness of how not to get this dreadful disease. Mick and I are cheering you on.xx

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