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Suffolk siblings due to set world record as brother completes 3,000 mile row with sister’s team close behind

20:01 27 January 2016

Winners of the Talisher Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, Ocean Reunion

Winners of the Talisher Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, Ocean Reunion

Ben Duffy Photography

A Suffolk man is celebrating a world record after Ocean Reunion won a 3,000 mile rowing challenge across the Atlantic Ocean.

Winners of the Talisher Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, Ocean ReunionWinners of the Talisher Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, Ocean Reunion

Angus Collins, 26, formed part of Ocean Reunion which crossed the Antigua finish line for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge earlier today, 37 days, nine hours and 12 minutes after setting off from the Canary Islands in late December.

The team, also comprising Colchester man Joe Barnett, 25, Angus Barton, 25, from Diss, and Jack Mayhew, 26, from Uppingham, beat the previous record of 41 days, set in 2014.

Mr Collins, the team skipper, said: “We’re ecstatic to have won the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and this huge welcome in Antigua has blown us away.

“It was incredibly tough and we’re so glad it’s over but it was such a fantastic experience.

Row Like a Girl - Bella Collins, 22, Olivia Bolesworth, 26, Gee Purdy, 22, and skipper Lauren Morton
Row Like a Girl - Bella Collins, 22, Olivia Bolesworth, 26, Gee Purdy, 22, and skipper Lauren Morton

“I wouldn’t do it again in a hurry but if any of these guys asked, I’d absolutely do it again.”

To make the tale even more remarkable, Mr Collins’ younger sister, Bella Collins, 22 from Bury St Edmunds, is on track to complete the challenge in second place on Friday with her team Row Like A Girl.

If they do, the pair will become the first siblings to complete the race in first and second place, meaning a second record would be achieved within the family.

Mr Collins said it was that sibling rivalry that helped to push him forward in the challenge.

“I had mixed feelings, the first one is just fear that your sister is going to beat you,” he said. “She’s half my weight, she hasn’t done half the amount of training that I’ve done.

“She’s not an athlete really, and she was rowing more miles than us at the beginning. It was only a couple of miles, day in day out.

“They had us scratching our heads for a couple of days, and had us pushing ourselves.

“Also, it’s great that she is nearby, second in the fleet. I’d much rather she is there chasing our arse than at the back getting pounded.

“We’re going to be right there on the front row seeing them in.”

Speaking earlier this week, Miss Collins said: “It’s great to be so close to the finish now, unbelievable really.

“We’ve come so far and are so excited to get to Antigua to meet our family and friends, and of course Angus.”

Both teams have faced two hour shifts of non-stop rowing, sleep deprivation, dehydration and exhaustion, as well as extreme weather and up to 30ft waves as part of the challenge, billed as one of the toughest on earth.

Ocean Reunion hope to raise £50,000 each for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Ocean-Reunion1 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust or www.justgiving.com/Ocean-Reunion/ for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Row Like A Girl are fundraising for PLAN Internationals.

To make a donation, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/rowlikeagirl

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