'Oarsome Foursome' Exmouth women take on record-breaking Atlantic row for charity

PUBLISHED: 11:22 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 23 August 2018

Left to right, Bird Watts, Linda Whittaker, Mo O’Brien, Claire Allinson. Picture: contributed

Left to right, Bird Watts, Linda Whittaker, Mo O'Brien, Claire Allinson. Picture: contributed


An Exmouth woman - with no sea rowing experience - is among four friends hoping to break a world record and raise cash for charity as the oldest all-female group to row the Atlantic.

The ‘Oarsome Foursome’, whose ages range between 31 and 59, plan to row from La Gomera to Antigua in December 2019, to raise money for three chosen charities.

The group will need to find £150,000 through sponsorship and donations to buy the boat which will make the trip possible and are also raising money for three different charities.

Claire Allinson, 44, from Exmouth, is the only member of the group with no rowing experience, but is determined to complete the 3,000 mile trip, joined by Linda Whittaker, 51, Mo O’Brien, 59 and Bird Watts, 31, from Cornwall.

One of the chosen charities for the group’s fundraising, is Cornwall Bloodbikes.

Claire's father was able to accompany her down the aisle on her special day in 2017. Picture: contributedClaire's father was able to accompany her down the aisle on her special day in 2017. Picture: contributed

Claire’s father sadly died on August 2, following a long battle with leukemia and part of the reason he lived long enough to walk her down the aisle was that he was provided with a life-saving blood transfusion in 2014.

“It was successful and saved his life,” Claire said. “He wasn’t going to make it, so for me it’s massive.”

The group’s other two chosen charities are Carefreebreaks and Exmouth Hospiscare. Claire said her dad received ‘phenomenal’ care at his local hospice, Overgate House, in Yorkshire, which made it possible for him to die at home, which was his wish.

Claire said: “I’m really, really nervous because the others are all professional gig rowers and I have never rowed on the sea. Ben Fogle and James Cracknell did it and said it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. It’s unbelievable and I am still wondering if I am going to be able to do it.”

The Oarsome Foursome believe they could go in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest all-female team of four to row across the Atlantic, in a trip that will take between five and 13 weeks. To donate or find out more about sponsorship email oarsome@oarsomefoursome.co.uk or call Bird on 07759 208 901

Claire said: “Whether you give £1 or £1,000 we would be grateful; without your help we can’t do it. Whether you sponsor or donate we are just so appreciative, as are all the families you will ultimately be helping.”

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