Our mixed group of amateur explorers and SUPers each have one thing in common… a sense of adventure.
Neil Laughton, our expedition lead has a monumental number of fantastic adventures under his belt (as you’ll see if you click on the link to his website) and had pulled together a short summary for the Paddle on the Peruvian Amazon he was planning.
He shared it with a number of known associates and people he had met either during one of his inspirational talks or through previous trips, and the rest (as they say) is history.
The expedition was presented to us in a way that promoted images of calm rivers running through rain forests, the sun shining and the world feeling a much better place. The reality turns out to be somewhat different! The real possibility of encountering Tarantulas, piranha, Caymen and other biting creatures were softly dropped into the package…….. BUT we were already on the hook and each and everyone of the team still said “OK, lets do this!!!”
“Neil is trying very hard but achieving very little” stated an early school report. Despite this inauspicious outlook and many subsequent setbacks, he was commissioned into the Royal Marines, qualified as a helicopter pilot and served 12 years in UK Special Forces (21 SAS) reaching the rank of Captain. Later on, he founded a construction company which grew to £40 million turnover before being sold to a FTSE 100 company in 2011.
At Laughton & Co, he dedicates his time to developing inspirational leaders and high-performing teams. Working with individuals and businesses, he helps them build their powers of discovery, teamwork and adventure (www.laughton.co). Neil is a Sussex Business Awards Winner, has a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and he won the Ness Award for “Inspirational leadership” from the Royal Geographical Society. He is also Chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society and Founder of the Penny Farthing Club.
Neil has a passion for travel, sport and adventure. He has organised and led more than 50 adventurous expeditions on 7 continents by land, sea and air. He climbed Mt Everest with Bear Grylls, was the first person to circumnavigate the UK & Ireland on a jet-ski and he piloted the world’s first road legal flying car on a 10,000 km journey from London to Timbuktu. Neil has Guinness World Records for riding a Penny Farthing bicycle with ‘no hands’ and for hosting the world’s highest black tie dinner party. But he is best known for his many ‘world firsts’ which include playing golf at the North Pole, cricket at the South Pole and paddling a bathtub across the Solent.
CEO. Architect. Adventure
Jon founded Adventure in Architecture in 2010 while on an 8month and 33,000km expedition through West Africa, where he designed an award winning shelter for patients to receive inoculations. The same year Jon Skied to the South Pole for the 100year anniversary of Captain Scott’s expedition which was celebrated with the first ever game of cricket at the Pole.
Since then Jon has gained world records including first ascents in Iraq, tandem speed records, penny farthing records and hosted dinner parties on Everest. As a yacht master, mountain leader and divemaster Jon builds relationships in the industry by leading client and property expeditions all over the world.
Adventure in Architecture have a passion for a challenge guiding, residential, developer and commercial clients to the summit of their next property adventure.
Adventure in Architecture was born from an adventure that led to a thriving business. It’s success is derived from the strength of the team and every member of the company is an adventurer. We attract the best property professionals and most driven individuals by adhering to our culture of taking on challenges, love of exploration and pursuit of perfection. Among our architectural staff we have mountain leaders, world class climbers and yacht masters. We will take on whatever challenge you have for us.
Jeff is a Brighton born Entrepreneur with a lust for life, fun and adventure.
His hobbies include mountain biking, skiing, paddle boarding and sailing. Having gained his International Competence Certificate (ICC) qualification, there’s nothing Jeff likes more on a hot summers day than cruising around on the water.
Jeff is also passionate about doing his bit for good causes and has taken part in a number of fundraising events including the London to Brighton Bike Ride and an overseas cycling challenge through Cambodia and Vietnam.
When Jeff learnt that prostrate cancer was the biggest killer he decided to point all his charity events to support the research into this terrible disease.
When asked what drove him to take part he said“The global pandemic hasn’t been good on anyone. Neil and I are good friends and when he invited me to paddle board the Amazon, I laughed! Why would anyone want to risk their life facing crocodile, yellow belly Piranha, poison tip frogs and tarantula? Then I said OK!! I guess it just appealed to my need to do some crazy stuff once in a while to make me feel alive, and in the current climate it was just the reminder I needed and the thing I was looking for”
Ant is currently the Head of BI Systems and Support at Network Rail.
His favourite quote is one his dad always used to say to him… “You don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing” (credited to George Bernard Shaw).
Skateboarding in his teens, surfing since his early 20’s, hiking the Inca Trail and taking on the 3 peaks challenge in his 30’s, snowboarding on three different continents since the week he turned 40, Heliboarding in Canada at 50… who knows what adventures and challenges lie ahead as Ant clearly has no intention of stopping playing.
In October 2020 Ants mum lost her battle with dementia. During the final chapter of her life, there were a number of very special people who both treated, cared for, and supported her. For this reason Ant has decided to help put something back and is raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society as they continue their fight to create a world without dementia.
When asked what drove him to take part Ant said“When my life long friend and best man (Jeff Halls) told me he’d joined forces with Neil Laughton to explore the Amazon on inflatable Paddle Boards I thought “Hallsy’s finally lost the plot”? Crocodile, yellow belly piranha, poison tip frogs, snakes and tarantula… are just some of the scary creatures they may encounter, and then, I looked at a picture of my mum, smiling at me with a glass of wine in her hand, and could hear her saying “Antony… LIFE is for living, what are you waiting for?”
Mick runs his own roofing Business in Brighton.
He’s well known for being a bit of a fitness fanatic. He ran the Brighton marathon twice, the Hastings half marathon once and whilst he could be found in the gym most days (pre lockdown), one of his favourite exercises is to run 10 or more kilometres on the pebbles along the seafront in Brighton. During the winter months Mick usually heads to the mountains with Ant and their crew snowboarding.
Mick has always supported people in their fund raising efforts, and has done a number of events himself for charity. When he first signed up for this expedition his Dad was also fighting dementia. Sadly he too lost that battle in the early part of 2021, so Mick has also decided to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s society.
Mick loves to travel though more often that not he tends to look for his home comforts when away (English food etc). He regrets at times not having done more in his younger days and openly admits his sense of adventure has grown as the years have passed. More and more he’s pushing his own personal boundaries and the more he does, the more he wants to do!!
When asked what drove him to take part Mick said “The trigger was lockdown. I needed something to look forward to that was totally out of my comfort zone. I hate spiders, crocks and all that kind of stuff and then Ant & Jeff popped up with this idea… it seemed to fit perfectly… lol”
Giles runs his own Insurance consultancy business and has lived in Hove for over 20 years.
He likes to keep his body ‘ticking over’, and enjoys a blast on his bike, and a run out with the Vets touch rugby at Hove RFC where he has also coached for 15 years. He has run the Brighton marathon twice, although is now saving his knees for his winter passion off-piste skiing.
He has worked in ski resorts in France and America, and has also skied in New Zealand, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Giles has completed various fundraising events over the years including a tandem sky dive, a cycle from London to Paris, and 2 marathons. His chosen charity is The Chestnut Tree House hospice, which offers end of life care to children in Sussex, and which he has supported through fund raising and volunteering.
Giles has a passion for travelling, and his last adventure with his family was to Myanmar (Burma) in 2016, where on a 10 hour trek his children were the first young westerners to be seen by a local farmer.
Giles was fortunate enough to backpack in his younger days to South East Asia and Australia, and work in America twice, and has never lost the wanderlust.
When asked what drove him to take part Giles said “I made the mistake of contacting Neil during lockdown to see if he had any adventure trips going, as it had been a while since I had last tested myself, and this one totally floated my board! It’s a once in a lifetime trip to somewhere remote, and once I had met some of the other adventurers, I was in”.
Sarah shares the group’s passion for travel and adventure. Always looking for a new experience.
After a career in IT consultancy, Sarah took a career break to raise her 3 girls. Now they are old enough to fend for themselves, she indulges her desire to travel, having visited some incredible places, including a road trip through Jordan and camping in the jungle of Sierre Leone.
Sarah currently organises worldwide car rallies and tours with Bespoke Rallies, www.bespokerallies.com, which gives her the opportunity to meet new people, see amazing sights and drive the back roads of countries such as Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Rajasthan as well as many of the South American countries, having supported a rally from Buenos Aires to Cartegena.
Sarah also loves sailing and being on the water. She’s sailed in Belize, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands and the med. She then obtained her day skipper licence and recently had the opportunity to deliver a yacht from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands, sailing non-stop for 5 days with no land in sight.
When asked what drove her to take part Sarah said: “I met Neil at a work event and within 5 minutes of meeting him, he told me about his plan to paddle board in the Amazon. I was in, without hesitation, and also roped one of my daughters in too.”
Rob Pelling is a Brighton born adventurer, over the years Rob has created or expanded many businesses. Nowadays however a work / life balance is one of the most important aspects, focusing much more on life.
Rob is very proud to also be a trustee and current chairman of, the Charity ‘Paddle round the Pier’. Giving back is immensely important and if that can be combined with life changing experiences and adventurous challenges, all the better.
Logistics, planning and problem solving is Robs forte, which is why you often find him leading support for a lot of challenges, however every now and again its good to be one of the participants.
When asked what drove him to take part Rob said “I love doing things that others shy away from, either in business or in life, this is an opportunity to be part of a great team, have a great adventure and of course raise a lot of money for some very worthy causes.
Mark Newman is founding director of Silver Star Cleaning and runs Penny Farthing experiences in Brighton & Hove. Over the past ten years Mark has set about seeking adventure and pushing himself to complete various personal and team challenges. Not only fulfilling life ambitions but crucially combining them with fund raising for local and national charities and is delighted to have played a part of raising over £75,000
In that time Mark completed the Brighton Marathon. Navigated and Kayaked across Scotland with a team of 13. Trekked in the Artic to photograph the Aurora Borealis. Trekked in the Himalayas in 2015 which was cut short due to the earthquake. Paddle boarded as a team of 3 around the Isle of Wight and the first team ever to circumnavigate the remote Pacific island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) by paddleboard. Cast in Execs Factors, a charity fund raising stage production for the Starr Trust. Completed a wing walked for Safe in Sussex and Kangaroos. Cycled 100 miles on a penny farthing for the Starr Trust and recently got himself a Guinness World Record for cycling the furthest distance in an hour one legged.
His hobbies include landscape photography, paddle boarding, scuba diving and representing the England penny farthing polo team and generally all sport.
When asked what drove him to take part, he said, “is this an adventure? will it be raising money? YES, Then why not!”