A SMALL crew of rowers will cross 8,000 miles of the world's oceans in a bid to raise awareness of young-onset Parkinson's and provide groundbreaking research into the condition.

Experienced seafarer Billy Taylor of Monkey Fist Adventures is aiming to cross the Atlantic on a 3,000-mile journey from Lanzarote to Antigua in January before setting off on a world-first 5,000-mile non-stop voyage from Australia to Africa later that year.

One person with Parkinson’s will be amongst the rowing team for the Atlantic and two people with PTSD will attempt the second with him.

The Brain Waves challenge will provide important research data for Oxford Brookes University that could lead to a breakthrough in finding treatments.

Parkinson's UK's Swindon branch chair Dave Logan said: "I think it's a fantastic idea, they are very brave to do it and it's for a very good cause. The one thing we all want is a cure.

"Fatigue is doubled with Parkinson's so it will be twice as difficult for some of the rowers and require twice the effort.

"Exercise is the only thing known to delay Parkinson's so more research is sorely needed."

The first journey is expected to take up to 45 days while the second could take more than 100.

Billy Taylor said: “I hope challenges like this promote the benefits that exercise gives for people with Parkinson’s. Receiving that diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving amazing things.

"Something big like this will attract attention and inspire people, raise awareness of young-onset Parkinson’s, and help find ways to improve our understanding of it.

“The most difficult part will be getting to the starting line and finding people who will take months off to take part. We’re all very focused on making this happen.”

Cricklade-based firms GWP Packaging and C3 Marketing are sponsoring both of the epic seafaring trips.

GWP Packaging provided floor space that C3 Marketing's team used to wrap the boat after paying for the materials and labour required. The boat will have to be shipped from Antigua to Australia between voyages.

Earlier this year, Mr Taylor gave a presentation at the Wiltshire Business Awards about his previous 3,000-mile row from Australia to Mauritius with a team that included the first person with Parkinson's to complete such a trip.

He added: "Oxford Brookes University said the research we gathered was groundbreaking so they asked us to provide more."