UWE Bristol sponsors female Atlantic rowing duo who aim to raise awareness of cervical cancer

Issue date: 25 January 2013


Inspirational Friends

See link to inspirational friend's video here

A graduate and a student from UWE Bristol will face the greatest challenge of their lives in December 2013, when they join the race to row 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

UWE Bristol is supporting the cause by paying for the boat to be built. The boat needs to be built to meticulous specification to ensure safety and durability and including a vast array of specialist equipment.

Hannah Lawton is currently studying for an MSc in Coaching Science and Jessie Van Beck graduated in 2000 with a BA (Hons) in English and now works for the Environment Agency. They are currently the only all women team entered and their motivation for taking part is to raise awareness of cervical cancer screening following the death of a courageous and much loved friend, a fellow UWE Bristol student, Eleanor Rose Ellis who died of the disease on 12 May 2012.

Eleanor was a team mate in the UWE Bristol rowing team and a larger than life character who inspired those around her which has lead to the duo calling their challenge 'Inspirational Friends'.

Their part in the race is being used as a catalyst to encourage more young women to go for cervical screening tests and to raise money for two charities, the Myton Hospice and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

Hannah Lawton comments, “We are determined to ensure that we complete this challenge and we know that we're going to have to be focused on our training regime. We are getting fantastic support from so many people and the latest announcement from UWE Bristol that they will help us with significant costs towards the boat is fantastic news.

“We are currently doing a lot of promotion work around cervical cancer as it is cervical cancer awareness week. Earlier this week I was interviewed on ITV's 'This Morning' where I underwent a live cervical smear test on screen. I did this to show young women that there really is nothing to be afraid of.”

The team has just started to embark on a fitness regime with the support of UWE's Elite Athletes scheme in the Centre for Sport and they will be undergoing psychological preparation with UWE's sports psychologist Dave Alcock.

John Rushforth, Deputy Vice Chancellor, said, “We are thrilled that a team made up of UWE rowers is taking part in this Challenge and we want to support Hannah and Jessie to achieve success both in the race and in their ambition to raise funds for both charities. The team will inspire current and future graduates and we are proud that we are able to support their ambitions.”

To find out more see Inspirational Friends https://www.facebook.com/InspirationalFriends @insfriends

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