UWE Bristol rowers abandon Atlantic Challenge after an incredible 1,000 mile adventure

Issue date: 12 March 2014

Lauren Morton pictured left and Hannah Lawton

Two brave students from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have had to call it day in their attempt to row across the Atlantic from La Gomera to Antigua as part of the Talisker Grand Atlantic Challenge. After more than 90 days at sea on a journey that has been beset with problems the rowing duo for team Inspirational Friends has had to abandon their attempt. They are currently sailing to Canada on a Belgian ship and should reach land in the next couple of weeks.

Hannah Lawton and Lauren Morton set off from La Gomera in their boat 'Sedulous' in the in December and were the youngest women to have attempted the challenge. The inspiration for their trip was to raise money in memory of a University friend who had died from cervical cancer for the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Myton Hospice.

In a statement released this week the pair said, "Both of us have been amazed and overwhelmed by all of the support back home and really can't thank everyone enough. We've spent the last month trying to make rudder fix, after rudder fix and nothing has worked in these conditions, we are now out of options. So, with a heavy heart, we have had to make the decision to retire from the 2013 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

“We set out to row the Atlantic not to drift it, and whilst the race is over for us this time, we are determined to continue raising awareness of cervical cancer and money for our chosen charities Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Myton Hospice. We are now on a cargo ship heading for Canada.”

Before embarking on their incredible adventure Hannah Lawton spoke about her friend who inspired them to take on the change and how they hoped to do something positive to raise awareness of cervical cancer. “Eleanor was such an inspiration to us in the way that she dealt with her illness and I felt quite a big push when she passed away to go out there and do something to celebrate her bravery. We have raised quite a few thousand already but we are hoping that as we set off on our journey that more people will feel inspired to support our efforts. Sedulous is a name that replicates the kind of person Elle was – it means studious, hardworking and perseverance so it also represents a lot of the things that UWE Bristol aspires to achieve with their students and we think it is fitting name.”

John Rushforth, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol said, “We are very proud of the girls and all that they have achieved. Many of us have been following their adventure and willing them on but it is difficult to see how they could have carried on for any longer adrift in the middle of the Atlantic.

“The Talisker Atlantic Challenge is widely regarded as one of the most difficult physical feats on this planet and to have rowed over 1,000 miles in such a tough race shows tenacity, strength of character and determination that is to be commended. We look forward to celebrating when the girls return to university soon and I would urge people to support them by sponsoring the worthwhile cause that they have been supporting.”

To support the fundraising efforts for Inspirational Friends please click here or visit their web pages http://www.insfriends.org.uk/blog/

Link to video before the inspirational friends set off for Antigua

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