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Hannah’s Atlantic challenge to help battle against cancer
A COACH at Worcester Rowing Club is gearing up for a gruelling feat of endurance by rowing across the Atlantic in memory of a close friend who died from cancer aged just 23.
Hannah Lawton, aged 24, and her rowing partner Lauren Morton, 23, will be pushing the limits of their strength and endurance by rowing 2,900 miles in their Ocean Rowing boat as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
The race, which starts from La Gomera, Tenerife, in December and finishes at the English Harbour, Antigua, is considered as one of the toughest challenges in the world.
Miss Lawton, who has been the Henley Stewards Trust Scholarship coach at the rowing club for the last two years, is hoping to break the British record of completing the challenge in just over 75 days which was set in 2007.
The duo, who study at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, are raising £100,000 for Myton Hospice and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in memory of their friend Eleanor Rose Ellis who lost her battle with cervical cancer last May, aged just 23.
“It was the way she faced her illness and knowing that she was going to go the way she was, she was a happy go lucky kind of person and it kind of inspired us to go and do it,” said Miss Lawton.
“I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got quite a heavy training programme which involves putting on weight and working with a psychologist to look at our mental ability to deal with difficult situations.
“The rowing club have been really good, really supportive and are having a half-way party. I’m going to try and phone them on the satellite phone.”
During their mammoth journey, the pair will have to cope with blisters, salt rashes, sleep deprivation and rowing in two-hour shifts around the clock in a seven-metre long boat, with only a small cabin for protection against storms.
“The sleep deprivation and being tired and just trying to function properly when you’re tired will be hard,” said Miss Lawton.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to says the hallucinations at night is one of the worst things.”
Peter Powell, junior coach at the club, said: “We’re really excited about it. Vicky Huckle [coach] will be the main contact with Hannah when she’s aboard. We’re confident they will do it.”
To track the pair’s progress, or offer sponsorship, visit insfriends.org.uk.
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