@ParentPay backs @BernieHollywood OBE as he seeks to raise £1m for @Samaritans and Love Rowing @BoatofHope   

ParentPay is today issuing a call for entries to its national schools’ art competition in support of serial fundraiser Bernie Hollywood OBE’s inspiring Boat of Hope campaign to raise funds and awareness for young people’s mental health issues.

Harnessing its extensive educational network, the leading school payment provider is making an appeal to all UK secondary school pupils to create and submit artwork depicting their interpretation of 'hope' before the competition's upcoming closing date, 25th June.

Following this, the judging panel, which features renowned artist Justin Eagleton, will select six winning entries to have their work incorporated within a mural designed by Justin. Transposed onto the exterior of the boat, which will carry Bernie on his epic Atlantic voyage, the rear end of the mural will feature design imagery representing the struggles faced by many young people, gradually merging into hopeful images that capture the incredible work of Bernie and the Boat of Hope campaign. 

The past year has been enormously difficult for young people and their mental wellbeing, and lifelong philanthropist Bernie is determined to take action. In his boat, the intrepid 63-year-old is taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December 2022: an astounding solo row of up to 90 days across the Atlantic Ocean, jointly in support of mental health charity Samaritans, and Love Rowing: the British Rowing charitable foundation.

In addition to having their artwork featured on Bernie's boat, the six chosen young artists will also be invited to attend the boat unveiling at an exclusive event in London this autumn. Regardless of whether they submit a winning entry, all participating schools will be automatically entered into a draw to win an exclusive school visit from Bernie himself and his boat, as well as being celebrated on the Boat of Hope website as valued campaign supporters.

The culmination of the national schools’ art competition is one of many important elements in the vital fundraising campaign, which features a wide range of initiatives brought about in collaboration with various parties who are kindly donating their pro bono support. Drawing to a close on 25th June, the competition will form an integral part of the Boat of Hope campaign, bolstering Bernie's fundraising efforts as he aims to raise a total of £1 million for his chosen charities.

Clint Wilson, Corporate Development Director of ParentPay, commented: “Schools understand better than anyone how difficult the last year has been for young people, and have offered significant support for all those struggling. We're proud to be able to play our part in this fantastic campaign, and hope that, as well as raising vital funds, this competition can help provide young people with a creative outlet through which to express any painful or difficult emotions they may be experiencing."

Artist Justin Eagleton added: “I've been absolutely overwhelmed by the number of thoughtful and inspiring entries we've received so far, and can't wait to see more fantastic submissions come through as we near the competition deadline. I can already tell it's going to be a really tough decision choosing the winners, but I'm so excited to share their work when we unveil the final, mural-shrouded boat this autumn." 

Bernie Hollywood concluded: "During the race I'll be pushing my body to its physical limits, so knowing my boat will physically embody ‘hope’ for young people experiencing mental health issues will be a huge motivation to keep persevering when the going gets tough. As well as helping the campaign to meet our fundraising target, I hope the competition will go some way in enabling schools to keep building on the invaluable progress they have made in destigmatising young people's mental struggles."


#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek - One man; one boat; 3,000 miles of ocean - all in support of youth mental health 

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12th May 2021: Bernie Hollywood OBE, the serial fundraiser and adventurer, is to undertake a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, it has today been announced, in support of Samaritans’ vital work in tackling the mental health issues faced specifically by young people.

The ‘Boat of Hope’ campaign is being backed by ParentPay Group, Europe’s leading provider of cashless payment and parental engagement systems for schools, and aims to raise a total of £1 million jointly supporting the mental health charity Samaritans and Love Rowing, the British Rowing Charitable Foundation.

Well-known for his intrepid charity projects, Bernie’s latest expedition, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, will see the 63-year-old embark on a 60-to-90-day solo voyage across the Atlantic in 2022, in a Rannoch Adventure R10 Solo Ocean Rowing Boat measuring just 6m by 1.5m.

The Boat of Hope campaign is devised as a collaborative fundraising effort, with various parties lending their expertise and support pro bono. In addition to the contribution from ParentPay, artist Justin Eagleton, will be designing a mural comprising a series of images that encapsulate the spirit of the campaign, and that will be transposed onto the exterior of Bernie’s boat. The design will also incorporate entries from a national competition where young people will be invited to submit representations of what they believe ‘hope’ looks like. 

In addition, children’s author Natalie Reeves Billing will be creating a bespoke picture book inspired by Bernie’s incredible journey on his boat, whilst musician and composer Ben Hughes will be composing a unique theme tune for the Boat of Hope. 

Although Bernie will set sail in December 2022, the Boat of Hope campaign will be kicking off this autumn, with the launch of the newly built boat at an exclusive event in London. Bernie will then head to his home city of Liverpool where the boat will be officially named and the campaign to raise awareness of, and much needed funds for young people’s mental health issues will begin in earnest.

Commenting on the fundraising challenge, Bernie said:

“Though I’ve always been someone who enjoys pushing my body to its physical limits, what motivates me to persevere when the going gets tough is knowing that my efforts are aiding others. Rowing the Atlantic Ocean solo has always been an ambition of mine since the first time I sailed with my late father, so being able to fulfil this personal goal while supporting charities whose causes are so close to my heart really is a dream come true.” 

ParentPay Director, Clint Wilson, added: 

“The unsettling events of the last year have only served to underscore how vital it is to nurture your mental health – something that’s just as important for young people as it is for adults. As an organisation whose core mission is rooted in supporting families, we are delighted to be able to play a part in this inspiring challenge, the funds raised from which we know will make such a huge difference to the lives of many young people in the UK.”  

Love Rowing Chair and Olympian Cath Bishop commented:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as a beneficiary of the Boat of Hope campaign. The funds raised will enable us to deliver life changing, inclusive rowing programmes across the UK. Bernie is an inspiration and we share his commitment to supporting the positive mental health of young people”. 

Samaritans CEO, Julie Bentley said:

 “We are delighted that Bernie has chosen to support the vital work of Samaritans with his fantastic and hugely ambitious rowing challenge. There are many parallels with Bernie’s challenge and what young people have endured throughout the pandemic – his resilience will be tested, there may be struggles in adversity and he will need to overcome the challenges of loneliness and isolation.

"Samaritans believes in hope and recovery and Bernie’s challenge and his boat encapsulates this. We wish him all the best in achieving his goal.”

Plans are also underway to create a documentary film detailing Bernie’s gruelling two-year physical and mental endurance training programme.

Charity guru extraordinaire, over the past 39 years Bernie has raised £42 million pounds for UK and overseas charities. He is a world record-holder running the longest distance in 7 days and has received countless awards for his philanthropy over the last two decades, including the President's Certificate of Appreciation from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in recognition of his work with Barnardo’s and The Honours Award for the millions raised for local charities in his hometown of Liverpool.

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