Why a Blackpool man braved high seas and pirates to keep a promise to an African child

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Blackpool adventurer Jordan Wylie is urging young people to put down their mobile devices and get outdoors for some real life action.

 

The former soldier and regular on TV series Hunted, has a new book out telling the story of his latest odyssey, rowing and paddle boarding through pirate infested waters off the Horn of Africa and round Britain to build a school for some of the poorest children in the world.

Jordan, 38, who grew up on Grange Park and left school with no qualifications, joined the Kings Royal Hussars serving in Afghanistan and then became a private security officer protecting ships from the notorious Somalian pirates.

His fourth book, The Power of the Paddle, tells how he crossed the dangerous waters near Djibouti and raised funds to keep a promise to a small boy he met there called Ibrahim.

Jordan said: “He was about five years old and the thing he wanted most in the world was to go to school.”

Armed with skills learned from a lifetime of adventures, he embarked on a series of challenges – spending 149 days at sea.

“From working abroad you see the plight of the poorest people in the world, certainly the children, you can’t help to be compelled to do something.

“Everyone can make a difference by giving a little, it does not have to be money, it can be time.

“And I want to encourage young people that you can embrace the spirit of adventure because we all spend so much time now in front of screens and on social media but you can get in the outdoors and have an amazing adventure, even here on our own shores.

“Being out on the ocean is brilliant for your mental health, I call it Blue Therapy. Paddling along surrounded by dolphins is pretty special and would put a smile on anyone’s face.

“There were lots of days I wanted to give up, especially off Scotland in winter, in the middle of the night in a cold damp wet suit, but ultimately its about why you are doing it and for me it was about building that school.”

The school opened in Djibouti in May and Jordan went along to do the honours.

Now he has held a book launch for The Power of the Paddle at Waterstones in Blackpool.

He added: “It was fantastic to be back in Blackpool and see old the old faces and family.”