Back in 2015, Bowcliffe Chief Exec, Jonathan Turner was approached by local Yorkshire ‘lass’, Lauren Morton – who was looking for sponsorship for a truly inspirational challenge.
Lauren is part of ‘Row Like a Girl’, a quartet of British women that have just completed one of the most punishing challenges in the world, all in aid of charity, and broken two world records whilst doing it.
More people have been into space and climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. But Lauren, and her teammates Bella Collins, Olivia Bolesworth and Georgina Purdy decided to do just that, as part of The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, raising money for Plan UK’s “Because I am a girl” campaign, a global womens’ rights movement. After one unlucky unsuccessful attempt, the girls were determined to try again. As Jonathan Turner listened to the challenge ahead, he noted how he had absolutely no doubts about becoming a sponsor (and supporter!):
“I was absolutely delighted to be able to help the heroic efforts of these four ladies. I wanted to support them because they are proving that women are just as good as men – if not better – and that’s often the same in business (in my experience)! The challenge also appealed to my own sense of adventure, I adore carefully planned madness and their bravery for undertaking such a daunting task is inspiring. They decided to stretch themselves to achieve a goal that many would dream about and talk about, but wouldn’t have the guts to do. Teamwork is a huge part of life and they have shown the world that their team really did work. An inspiration to us all. A huge challenge carried out with great professionalism and courage. I dread to think what they have planned next!’
The girls set out from the Canary island of La Gomera on 20th December 2015 and reached Antigua in the Caribbean on Friday 29th January. In total spending 40 days at sea – beating the previous world record set by an all-girls team by five days. They finished second out of 26 boats, beaten only by a vessel of four male rowers, Ocean Reunion.
Choosing to cross the Atlantic Is a real test of physical and mental strength; with no outside assistance permitted for the teams at any point during the journey. One of the Row Like a Girl team, Gee Purdy, commented, “There’s no doubt that there were times where you question your sanity, sitting in the middle of the Atlantic…in a rowing boat, oars in and a massive storm tossing you around the ocean,” she said. “The feeling though of pure ecstasy to see the finishing line, to see our families and friends after 40 days, 3,000 miles made it all worth it.”
Now officially the youngest all-girl team to cross the Atlantic, the team fought off a hurricane, a broken boat, 50ft (15m) waves and intense bouts of sea sickness to win a place in the record books, and their blogs over on facebook frequently brought tears to those following their progress at Bowcliffe.
To recognise this astonishingly challenge and donate to the Plan International “Because I am a girl” campaign, you can visit Row Like a Girl’s Just Giving page.