An amazing day surrounded by wonderful people, great energy, cocktails, raffle prizes, sunshine and laughter!
A HUGE thank you to everyone that came to share a momentous moment when the 6 Coxless Crew were together for the FIRST TIME ever!! Doris was also there in person to allow everyone an opportunity to meet her and see our home.
Interesting how some people commented that she was so much smaller than they thought she would be and others said she was bigger!?!
There were welcome drinks by the wonderful Albion Racing Club a great hog roast lunch outside on the balcony and plenty of friends, family and supporters.
Super exciting to finally meet Jim Andrews and Simon TY who, as you all know, commented on our blogs every day whilst we were out on the ocean showing us so much invaluable support.
We love the way they instantly felt like old friends on our first face to face meeting. Thank you once again for all the encouragement and for keeping us rowing…
(JG and Barney you were missed but were there in spirit!)
We did a brief chat about some of our highlights and lowlights and then opened the floor up to a Q&A. Incredible to have the ever fabulous Sarah Osborne and Ceri from Breast Cancer Care there and Kate McKeand from Walking With The Wounded representing our charities and helping the event run smoothly. A big thank you!
We could not have done this without you ALL.
Old friend and new friends. It’s all about a team united and that is what Sunday’s event was all about.
A wonderful sense of community and connection.
A sincere THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all your endless support, encouragement and patience.
Thanks to all the photographers especially Carlos and more photos to come soon.
We’re off to Cornwall this weekend…so we’ll keep you all updated on the shenanigans!! x
Its been a busy week for all of us since Laura’s blog about our trip to the Palace. Last week I was up in the New Forest at Forres Sandle Manor School presenting to them about our journey. I presented to the Prep School, but then went down into Pre-prep which was a new experience talking to ages 4 – 7. They were particularly interested in whether or not I had seen crabs and lobsters whilst out at sea! Really looking forward to taking part in their sponsored walk on 21st June across the New Forest in aid of our charities. I then also spent Friday evening at the Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate. It was so awesome talking to lots of sailors who have also been in big waves and out at sea, but also people who have used some of the equipment that we used on Doris. A massive thanks to them for digging into their pockets and also raising funds for us.
Laura has been out in Switzerland for the Swiss National Championships for Wheelchair Racing. It is where all of the top Internationals are competing, and also the last time that they are all together before Rio!
Lizanne has been planning her trip over to the UK, which is just so exciting that we will finally for the first time all be together in the same place but more importantly all at the same time! We are really hoping to get lots of team things organised for when she is over, so Lizanne has been busy planning this too!
Izz and Ems went to Kenwick Mountain Festival last weekend. They were asked if they had ever tried rehydrated food. When Ems answered that she had eaten it for a whole 9 months, the guy nearly ate his hat – don’t think that he had had that response before! Ems was also with the Rotary Club in Marlow again, as last night they donated another £1000 to our charities!
Last but not least, Nats has some very exciting news! She has joined forces with New Level Results and Best Year Yet (The results focused and goal setting program that the Team used to help us get to the start line, and also across the pacific). She will be doing individual and team coaching to help others reach their own full potential and cross their own pacific.
We are all collectively making lots of plans for our event on 26th June. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, don’t wait, they are being bought up rather fast, and we would hate you to miss out. Please do invite anyone that you know that followed our journey and would love to meet Doris! You can buy them from the link below!
Today’s blog is a (slightly late) round up of what the team got up to last week. As ever, it was a busy week all round (except for me – I was on holiday!) and this is just a small taster of what we were up to…..
Megs gave a school talk as well as an after dinner talk at the Mayor of Broadstairs’ Spring Ball where the after dinner auction raised a whopping £1000+ for our charities, Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.
Natalia headed to Character World to speak to the staff about strength and diversity within a team and positive mindset. She said it was great to be presenting in their showroom and with some employees sitting on single beds – they got a very real sense of the size of our cabin space on Doris!
Ems went to the Dame Kelly Homes Trust team days (see her blog on this) and spoke at St Pirans School about the row and our values of SPIRIT. She was also liaising with the team behind the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, who have kindly invited us to Buckingham Palace on 16 May to present Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. We’re really honoured to be asked and can’t wait to attend what will be a great event.
Over in South Africa, Lizanne spoke to the team at Tatis. She enjoyed sharing stories of our journey with a group of people who were such great supporters and followers of our row while we were on the water.
This weekend a highlight for Laura was working hard supporting her athletes and friends at the London marathon.
For me, it was less work / Coxless Crew and more skiing, as I headed to the mountains of the Lyngen Alps in North Norway for a week of ski touring. Lyngen is incredibly beautiful, and climbing up from the sea to summits and then skiing back down to the beach for a swim in the Fjords is an experience I will definitely never forget.
As an all female team, who have just set 2 world records, achieving world firsts ahead of the boys, International Womens Day certainly seemed more poignant to us this year!
We are a team of ordinary women that went beyond having just a dream, we made that dream a reality and achieved what many thought would be impossible, what many thought we would fail at. It didn’t come without a few waves of ups and downs and set backs, but collectively, as a team, we stuck to our values, remained resilient in situations we faced and drew on perseverance when it mattered, which proved many people wrong about us. We weren’t just a bunch of girls in a pink boat that would fall out with each other or turn back and quit at the slightest difficulty, we were a team of women that had prepared and planned our row over 3 years previously, had tested ourselves mentally and physically in our preparations and left no stone unturned that we could have planned for. We drew strength from one another, cared for each other when someone was down, drew on humour to keep us going and allowed emotions to be shared and free flowing so that vulnerabilities were not hidden. We coped well with change and adapted quickly through the process as each leg we had a new team member. These are qualities that most women share, these are qualities that are fundamental to a dynamic and functional team, these are qualities that resonate effectiveness in any team setting, whether that’s business or sport. With equality in business still far from showing parity and in sport the exposure for women in sport is still lagging behind, hopefully days like International Womens Day, can express and share the amazing work women out there do and what great benefits a female angle can bring to a team to create diversity.
We have been and still are in ‘oar’ (sorry couldn’t help it!) of so many women that have helped and inspired us to achieve our goal, so here’s just a few, that on this International Womens Day (IWD)we wanted to celebrate…..
Our very own Sarah Moshman. The queen behind the camera who has already won an Emmy for a previous documentary, who led the Empowerment Project to celebrate women who are making waves in science, the military, media etc. https://indieflix.com/indie-films/the-empowerment-project-ordinary-women-doing-extra-36648/ and who is showing how it’s done as a female Director in an industry dominated by males.
Kate Philp, who was a Royal Artillary Officer who became a below knee amputee when she was injured in Afghanistan in 2008. Kate would have fought in the minority to be a female on the frontline, she would have fought to rehabilitate mentally and physically after she was injured and she has continued to fight in making sure she has a new life journey to success, which is reflected in her achievement when she reached the South Pole with Walking With The Wounded. She’s a true inspiration that whenever I started to moan about pain when I was out in the ocean, she made me stop and push on.
Patricia Elouahabi, loving wife to Rashid and mother to Yasin, who died just 6 months after Yasin was born in her fight against Breast Cancer.
Chrissie Wellington, one of my heroes who I am now fortunate enough to call a friend. Chrissie is a 4 times World Ironman Champion, her timings would come in the top 5 of the mens, she has set up Park Run and campaigned for the Womens Tour Du France. Chrissie fights for what she believes in, she’s dedicated and passionate and does everything with a smile!
Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment, on the board of 30% club, has 9 children and is a loving wife. This is a woman that epitomizes ‘you CAN’.
Sarah Outen, has just completed her around the world London 2 London challenge via, kayak, bike and rowing boat, all whilst sharing her journey, inspiring school kids along the way and continuing to look forwards to see how she can create environments for people to say yes to more opportunities outside the norm.
Julia Immonen, a beautiful woman inside and out, who has stirred change through her campaigns to stop human trafficking. Her efforts have fed through the channels of sport by setting up Sport For Freedom and Julia herself has completed rowing the Atlantic as a team and numerous cycling multi-day events.
England Womens Rugby team, having won the World Cup in 2014 for the first time in 20 years, this is one of many all female teams in sport that showed us how it’s done.
There are many more women that I could continue to talk about that inspired us as a team (my mum being one of them for me personally!), but there isn’t enough room on this page! A day like IWD gives us a chance to celebrate all those women that are stepping out their comfort zones to facilitate change, to help improve equality in the work place and inspire the next generation to believe they CAN. Thank you to all those women that inspired us and helped us to believe that we can.
We have entered a challenging phase of our journey. The expedition is complete but our work is not yet done. We are all either in or looking for full time employment and will be committing extra time and dedication to driving the fundraising forward.
Now, more than ever, it’s all about increasing the awareness and support for our two very worthwhile charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.
Once again we are all going to be working outside our comfort zones for the coming months.
The more speaking we do about our journey, the more apparent it becomes that there is so much to say. This was a multi-dimensional project, that’s for sure. When we are together we can easily talk for hours and hours but our presentations are targeted and specific. The skills we have learnt from the experience are numerous and we just want to share our insights with the world.
Some of the key areas that we can relate to any business and are all happy to talk about include:
Importance of preparation
Working outside your comfort zone
Mindfulness and positive mindset
If anyone knows of any companies, businesses or events where After Dinner, keynote or motivational speakers are needed than please let us know.
Our speaking engagements are going to be a great way to encourage more followers and therefore more donations to our charities. Honestly speaking, this is the time where we need as much money, help and support from as many people as possible!
What will you get in return? A powerful and inspirational story that will not only make you stop and question a few things about yourself, surroundings and life but also some tools that you can use to take away and put into practice yourself x
Today was a team day. We met up with Andrew Duncan of New Level Results, who we have worked with since the planning stages of our row project (see Nat’s earlier blog) The Best Year Yet programme was instrumental in helping us set clear guidelines and goals to get us to the start line and then to use on the water. Today was an opportunity to reflect on what has gone before and to set up a new team plan for the next stage of our row as we continue with our fundraising and sharing our story.
Lizanne joined us by Skype from Cape Town and we were kindly hosted at the offices of Breast Cancer Care. We started by taking the time to do a debrief about the team’s time on the water. We listed our individual and team accomplishments and disappointments and what lessons we can learn from them going forward. In the afternoon, we made a start on our plan for the post-row world. What do we want to achieve in the the next six months? What is our plan for continuing to raise money for our charities, Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer care? Who will be responsible for what? How are we going to balance this with our personal and work lives? It was a great brainstorming session and we now have a clear Best Year Yet plan to work to going forward.
At lunchtime, we were able to share our story with the staff and volunteers of Breast Cancer Care. We were joined by the team in the London office and conferenced in the teams in Sheffield and Glasgow. We ran them through the highs and lows of life on the ocean, shared some photos, and answered their questions about our journey. Breast Cancer Care have been so supportive of our journey and it was wonderful to meet so many of the wider team face to face.
All in all, it was another busy, but productive day and, as always, great to have the whole team together (using the power of the Internet).
Along our journey (to the start line and on the water), we have been constantly surprised by the generosity and enthusiasm to share our adventure that people have shown. One example is the lovely Emma of Doris and Co. Doris and Co sell beautiful English creamware pottery and homeware under the tag line “made of stern stuff”. Emma contacted us while we were on the water during our first leg and kindly offered to donate £5 from the sale of each of her signature Doris mugs to our charities, Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer Care, for which we and our charities are extremely grateful.
On return to the UK, we were all delighted to receive our own Doris mug each, a wonderful reminder of the support that we have received. If you would like to buy a signature Doris- made of stern stuff – mug, you can do so here.
The real Doris is currently making her way back from Australia, thanks to Transglobal Express. We have just discovered that she is likely to arrive on Easter Monday!
This last week at home has been very special. Spending it with my family & friends who have been there for me from the start. A time to say thank you in person for all the support I’ve received and to share with those that have been so influential to me wanting to make it home to Cornwall.
It has been so lovely to spend quality time this week with my parents. They have sat on the sidelines, gone through the emotional roller coaster & many times put on a brave face to support me when it was the last thing they ever wanted to see me do. I love my folks very much and will forever be in debt to the love they have always given to me. Now it’s my time to spoil them!
I got to see a lot of my family this week, which was amazing. Although makes me want zto start up a regular family gathering that’s not just at christmas.
My best friends too were all together for the first time in an age! It was so much fun catching up with them, although after a morning in a soft play with Michelle’s two kids and Sarah’s one, I can safely say that rowing an ocean is less hard work than juggling having 2 children (Michelle you’re my hero!). Meanwhile I got to meet my best friends baby who is called Max & only 3 weeks old you can already see he’ll be fighting the girls off!
So amongst the socialising, eating and drinking, I got to catch up on some X Factor, Greys Anatomy plus watch the beating the Italians got from England Rugby. ‘Twas a perfect week!
This leg of our journey has been a particularly tough one and today marks 30 days since our expected arrival date in Samoa and needless to say we are still not there. We have been incredibly inspired by the stories from women, both friends and strangers who have shared their Pacific with us and this has been particularly poignant coming from those supported by Breast Cancer Care. In the tough times it is the sharing of these stories which puts into perspective a few waves and adverse currents and reminds us why we have taken on this challenge. We want to support and make a difference to those women who are facing and overcoming adversity in their daily lives which they have not chosen to take on. All of us in the Coxless Crew and almost everyone we know has had their lives touched by Cancer. One in four women suffers from breast cancer and therefore the support that Breast Cancer Care provide touches the lives of a huge number of women and their friends and families. We wanted to be sure that we knew exactly where the money we raised for this charity was going and after learning more about the different services which they provide we decided as a team that we would like to contribute to the Younger Women Together program since as we are all young women this was close to our hearts.
Younger Women Together is for women aged 20-45 who have been diagnosed with primary breast cancer in the last three years. Although breast cancer is less common in younger women with around 5,600 diagnoses in women under 45 every year these women have different needs, worries and responsibilities to deal with. In particular issues surrounding fertility and the challenges of dealing with a young family alongside their diagnosis.
Younger Women Together run two day events which take place on a Friday and Saturday, with all food and accommodation provided free. They give the women who attend the chance to talk and share stories with others in the same position as themselves, away from the pressures of their everyday lives. A group of experts and specialists in the field are also in attendance and topics such as treatment, fertility, sex & intimacy, reconstruction, relationships (present or future), lymphoedema, healthy eating and exercise are all discussed with plenty of opportunities for questions to be answered. The events have been hugely successful and “every woman who joined us last year said they would recommend it, and many have made lasting friendships. The next Younger Women Together event is on 20 November in Bristol. For more information visit the Breast Cancer Care website at https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/support-you/local-support/younger-women-together
If you would like to help us meet our fundraising target of £250k and make a difference to women facing and overcoming breast cancer and those women injured at war then please visit our Virgin Money Giving page to donate.
UPDATE: We have just passed the 200nm to go to Samoa mark! Woop woop! We are still battling with the ocean every stroke to try to hold course for Samoa and our date with a shower, a proper bed and some real food. Fernando came to join the party again yesterday and Nat and I considered what would happen if he was washed onto the deck in one of the huge waves crashing towards us…..