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Kent rower's all-Britain challenge comes to an end


by Luke Hollands

Kent rower Laura Thomasson and her all-female rowing crew celebrated completing their round-Britain row in London this morning.

The route taken by the round Britain rowers
The route taken by the round Britain rowers

Laura, 24, who lives at Kingsdown and is a member of Dover Rowing Club, has been rowing a 24-foot boat called Go Commando with skipper Belinda Kirk, Bev Ashton and Angela Madsen. They are called The Seagals.

A message on their website said today: "Huge congratulations to the SeaGals.

"At 10.24pm this morning Belinda, Angela, Bev and Laura made it past the finish line under Tower Bridge.

"After 51 days, 16 hours and 42 minutes, their epic 2010 mile row around GB has come to an end but forever recognised as the first women ever to undertake the toughest rowing challenge in the world.

"Huge huge thanks to all our supporters, sponsors, friends and families."

The girls set off from Tower Bridge on June 1 to race against a boys' team and to try and break the previous world record of 26 days.

But the conditions put paid to any hope of setting a new record, and the boys team withdrew from the race.

When they passed under Tower Bridge again this morning, they won the £15,000 prize and a trophy.

They have already been congratulated by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson on their achievement.

Sir Richard Branson said: "Go Seagals! I knew I was right to back to girls in beating the boys in the first ever Virgin GB Row and I'm over the moon that such brave women have achieved a world record in such a spectacular fashion!

Laura Thomasson
Laura Thomasson

"This is why we set up the Virgin Trophy. Belinda, Angela, Laura and Beverley have pushed through extreme tiredness, hunger and serious injury to battle on and achieve the goal they set out to achieve.

"Britain has something to be proud of this summer after all! I hope they will get all of Britain's support when they row up the Thames on Thursday to claim their world record and the trophy!"

The girls had hoped to finish on Thursday, but they were held up by strong winds off the Essex coast.

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