Andy Unwin rowing

Andy Unwin Keynote Speaker

  • Founder of the Medicine Ball Challenge
  • Advocate for mental health support and awareness, particularly within the Armed Forces
  • Inspirational keynote speaker on overcoming adversity

Andy Unwin's Biography

Andy Unwin MBE is an inspirational speaker who speaks about topics such as overcoming adversity, resilience and motivation.

His story starts at age 11, his father was diagnosed with depression and had a problem with drink. He saw his father turn into a shell of himself, and witnessed someone suffering with mental illness for the first time. Andy joined the Infantry at the age of 19 and completed tours of Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

An accomplished leader, he was handpicked with three others from his regiment to undertake the expedition of a lifetime.  They rowed unaided across the North Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Cornwall, in a bid to become the first in the race to cross the ocean.  They faced tropical storms, 30ft waves, 70mph winds, and dodged huge container ships, all with a leaking boat.  The rowers battled through fatigue and injury, and were cold, wet, tired, and hungry – but managed to raise £35k for Charity.   This experience built calluses on not just his hands but his mind, which later equipped him with the mindset and grit for the biggest challenge of his life yet to come.

In 2018 Andy was becoming increasingly aware of how many Soldiers and Veterans were struggling with their mental health, and taking their lives, including a soldier he had worked closely with on operations.  This tragedy drove Andy to create The Medicine Ball Challenge, a mental health awareness challenge designed to represent the invisible weight and burden that those suffering with their mental health carry daily.  As a result, Andy was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list for raising awareness of veterans’ mental health and supporting Combat Stress, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Mind.

In February 2020, Andy’s wife and mother to their 3 children after a long battle with mental ill health tragically took her life. As a Suicide Survivor Andy speaks openly about the impact this devastating event had on him, his children, how he was left to pick up the pieces, and how he overcame such a loss.

Despite facing immense adversity, Andy’s story is one of courage, determination, and resilience and his message is one of hope that can inspire and motivate others that when things get tough to keep moving forward.  Andy speaks regularly to the Army’s Senior Soldiers, junior leaders and in the Cooperate industry of how he has overcome adversity in so many ways.

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Andy Unwin's Speaking Topics

  • Expedition Yorkshire warrior, keep moving forward

  • Life after loss, living through adversity

  • Medicine Ball Challenge, Invisible wounds

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