The Crew


Derek Spence

Derek is the oldest of the four and the only one who's not a serving soldier; although he did serve for a time with the New Zealand Army.

Originally from New Zealand, Derek has been in Europe since 1988 and has lived in Aylesbury since 1996.

Derek has completed the Marathon des Sables three times, has completed several Ironman, 70.3 events and marathons raising money for various charities. 

A Rugby enthusiast, Derek has always supported the “Help for Heroes” charity and is delighted to be able to continue to support our Servicemen by rowing for The Scots Guards charity.

Apart from running, biking and occasionally swimming, Derek still plays Rugby every so often and is secretary of Aylesbury Rugby Club.  Recently he has been spending time on a rowing machine!

John Ford

John has spent over 26 years in the army as a Scots Guardsman, serving in countries all over the world including many operational tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

John joined the army as a Guardsman and has worked through the ranks to commission as an Officer in the Scots Guards

John hails from Fife in Scotland was educated at Beath HS and Lochgelly HS and supports the “Blue Brazil”, Cowdenbeath FC.  After finishing his education, he joined the Scots Guards, part of the famous Household Division. During his time in the Army, John has participated in many challenges and charity ventures. Most recently he competed in the Marathon des Sables, twice: 2015 & 2017, both of which he competed alongside Derek whilst raising money for his chosen charity.   He has enjoyed many adventure activities, such as white water rafting and kayaking the Athabasca river, rock climbing in the Canadian Rockies, ski-ing in Bavaria and sky diving in California.  John continues to enjoy many sports is still trying to play football, cycling, running the occasional marathon and has recently taken up Curling.

During the Marathon des Sables in 2017 Derek and John decided after they had just completed the famous MdS 4th day, double marathon distance running, through jebels, desert plains, dunes fields and over mountains carrying all their own kit in 40 degree heat, that maybe rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic would be slightly easier than running 250!  The seed was sown and now they are doing it with another two like-minded friends.  Time will tell If making the decision to change tack from running the toughest footrace on earth to rowing the toughest ocean challenge was a wise one or not! and the question of which was easiest will be answered?


John and the team’s thirst for challenge and adventure is not the primary motivator it is their drive and determination to raise much needed sponsorship and they sincerely hope that this challenge is an event that is a worthwhile enough cause to warrant asking you to donate some of your hard earned money to sponsor and support them.


John and the team are passionate about the Scots Guards charity and the vital work it does to support the Regiment, its veterans and the wider army community during their times of most critical need now and future generations.

John Adams

John is currently a Sergeant of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards with over 18 years experience including operational tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He has also been involved in exercises in Jamaica, Canada, Kenya, Texas, and Nepal.

John has done many forms of adventure training including coasteering, kayaking, rock climbing, skydiving, SCUBA diving, alpine mountaineering and has even hiked around the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. 


Nothing quite compares to the mental and physical challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic but he is looking forward to it and once it is complete it won’t be long before he looks for something else to test himself!

Colin Corfield

Colin has served over 21 years in the Army in the army as a Coldstream and Scots Guardsman, serving in countries all over the world including many operational tours such as Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

Colin hails from Sunderland where he still lives and originally joined the Coldstream Guards in 1999 before transferring to the Scots Guards.  He now works for the Regiment in Newcastle Army Careers office recruiting new, fresh, keen and eager Scots guardsmen.


In the Regiment Colin served in a rifle Company.  As a physical training instructor and Mortarman.  He has also served as a Plt Sgt at the Army foundation college in Harrogate and more recently as a Company Quarter Master Sergeant at the Infantry training centre.  He enjoys hobbies such as: Running, mountain biking, Nordic and Alpine skiing.

Colin joins the team late on as the fourth member after the original fourth was badly injured in a freak accident.  Despite arriving late, he is a great addition to the team, naturally fit, strong and is training hard looking forward to the challenge with his fellow Atlantic guardsman crew members.