A KNUTSFORD businessman has returned a famous rowing boat to its crew of servicemen who were injured in the line of duty.

Michael Oliver, chairman of Oliver Valves in Parkgate industrial estate, bought the Row 2 Recovery boat for a charity auction to show his support for the armed forces.

The boat was home to a six-man crew of former British soldiers for a 3,000-mile cross-Atlantic challenge earlier this year.

Ex-captains Ed Janvrin and Alex Mackenzie organised the expedition after being inspired by the bravery of their colleagues who lost limbs in the Middle East.

The campaign was to prove injured troops can go beyond injury and achieve the extraordinary.

They enlisted Lance Corporal Carl Anstey, Corporal Rory Mackenzie, Corporal Neil Heritage and Lieutenant Will Dixon who between them have only three working limbs.

Michael bought the rowing boat with a donation to the Armed Forces Benevolent Fund (AFB) and has returned it to the crew for £1.

The plan is for it to be re-sold at a charity auction at this year’s Henley Regatta to help raise further funds.

He said: “In all my years in business this is the first time I’ve bought something of immense value and sold it for a pound, but in this instance I’ve been willing to make an exception.

“I was so humbled by the extraordinary efforts of this incredible group of men and it has been a great honour to support them.

“I hope that the boat continues its voyage with other benefactors of this very important charity.”

All six crew members were welcomed by Michael at his Knutsford headquarters of his business with children from Oakgrove School – which caters for children with emotional, behavioural and social difficulties – for a handing-over ceremony.

Michael was in Barbados to welcome the crew ashore when the 51-day voyage ended, and regularly makes donations to charities which support the armed forces.