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NEWS > Alumnae News > ExtraOARdinary Crew Call for Donations for Raffle

ExtraOARdinary Crew Call for Donations for Raffle

As preparations to take part in the 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic continue apace this month, our alumnae team are asking us to show our support by donating prizes for a virtual raffle in March.

Abby Johnston (class of 2007 and current LEH Senior Rowing Coach) and Charlotte Irving (class of 2008) recently raised £2,000 as they took part in a marathon six-hour row to show their support while fellow team mate Kat Cordiner, who is being treated for cancer, underwent her last six hour round of chemo. They looked surprisingly chipper at the end (as the photo shows).

The three-strong team have been inspired to work harder than ever as they watch the last of the crews taking part in the current Talisker Whisky Altantic Challenge - dubbed "the world's toughest row" - cross the finishing line. Challenged by the current lockdown restrictions to get creative, they have been switching up their training to fit with whatever equipment they have at home. From rowing machines in lean-tos, to kettlebell circuits in the living rooms of top-floor flats, the ambitious team have their sights set on a world record.

The boat the team will be using to cross the Atlantic already has a world record under its belt. The ‘Dolly Parton’, crewed by the youngest three-women team to cross the Atlantic – known as the Atlantic Antics - arrived in Antigua after 52 days, 4 hours and 57 minutes at sea. This is just over two and a half days over the standing world record of 49 days, 13 hours, 49 minutes, despite poor wind conditions slowing the team down considerably - so it’s all to play for!

‘It was so inspiring to see the Atlantic Antics girls cross the finish line flares in hand! They put in an incredible shift across the entire race, and with such a great attitude. They’ve given us lots of great tips for our race, among them; organising social events throughout the row to keep the spirits up, and someone on ‘shark watch’ while the others clean the hull to eek out extra speed.

“This year also brought with it a number of Marlin ‘attacks’. While the boats were not the intended target - a school of plump bluefin tuna made for a tastier one - three crews ended up skewered by the Marlin bills, which are strong enough to pierce the hull. Once over the initial shock, the crews had to work quickly to mend the damage both inside and outside the boat - often needing to saw through the remaining bill left lodged in the hull - while hoping the fish that left it behind would be alright!

“We can’t wait to be able to catch up with crews once they are back in the UK to hear more about their stories and adventures, living over a month at sea’, said Charlotte, Abby and Kat.

However, the aim of the race is not just to break a world record. The team are raising much-needed funds for cancer charities Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. These charities have not only missed out on essential sponsorship opportunities due to the pandemic, but they are doing invaluable work supporting patients whose treatments have also been disrupted.

The team have a number of fundraising opportunities coming up, from a virtual raffle in March, to speaking events and a few physical challenges to boot. The crew are looking for donations for the raffle, so if you think you may be able to help please do get in touch with the crew at crew@weareextraoardinary.com.

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