Who are ‘The Norfolk brOARds’?!
We’re all members of the King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club. Who when asked if we thought we might like to row an ocean and take part in what is billed as ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, took about 30 seconds to respond with “Hell YES“.
Helen has lived and worked in Norfolk for 30 years, but she grew up in the valleys of South Wales. Living in Norfolk on the East coast, with the big skies and beautiful weather is a far cry from her early days over on the West, but the common factor is the sea. Never far away.
Helen doesn’t weigh up decisions or ponder the sensible approach to life for very long. Leaving home at 17 to join the RAF was a template for how she would approach life in general. It was here she met Tony, who continues to support her unconditionally in everything she does. They have one son, Mike, living in Australia. But last seen somewhere in Tasmania!
Helen has always loved sport. She also loves a challenge. Tell her it’s dangerous, tell her she can’t possibly do that, and you’re guaranteed to get her interest. This attitude was what prompted her to seek out like minded adventurers. After swimming the 10 miles of lake Windermere, she realised she really did have a never give up attitude and learned she had more in her than she ever knew existed.
So why is she rowing across the Atlantic? – Her coastal rowing around the Norfolk coast is wonderful. But as with everything, Helen is always looking to push that bit more and venture outside her comfort zone. It just takes something big to get her there.
Oh, and there’s a bottle of whisky for every finisher, right?
Kate grew up with fantastic views of the Nene Valley in landlocked Northamptonshire, about as far away from the coast as you can get in the UK! Family trips to the seaside always filled her with wonderment and sparked an enduring fascination with the sea!
In 2004, Kate decided that her life needed a change and relocated to Norfolk in the search of new beginnings. Within a year, Kate had set off on a life changing gap year, traveling around Asia and Australia. Returning to Norfolk, Kate quickly found herself falling head over heels in love with her now partner of eleven years – it is amazing what you can pick up from an all-night petrol station on the A10! She also became a step mum (a truly terrifying idea to start with) but it wasn’t hard to fall in love with two wonderful boys and their sister.
Kate has always been a keen and determined swimmer, more for fun rather than competition. She has also tried several different sports and fads, most of which have ended unsuccessfully – usually quite painfully and with a certain amount of band aids and plaster casts! Buoyed on by the success of the London Olympics, Kate sought out a ‘learn to row course’ and within two minutes rowing on the Cam – it ignited a passion, one that has yet to be quenched! In 2017, Kate joined the King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club, it isn’t lost on her that we are lucky to have some of the most incredible coastlines to row out from! It is varied and beautiful! It is part of what makes Norfolk one of the best places to live! Kate also took part in the Great River Race in 2017, a 22 mile row up the Thames from Millwall to Richmond. So let’s face it, when she received an email inviting her to join a madcap adventure to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic – the obvious answer was going to be ‘Yes!’ And a resounding ‘Yes’ at that! It was a decision made in a matter of minutes and one that was made with no thought to the Pros and Cons – it was just to impossible to resist!
Kate rows, cycles, swims and occasionally frequents the Gym, she has one vice in life – chocolate! She also enjoys long evening walks in her spare time, because quite frankly, thirteen miles at work just isn’t enough!
Sandra is the relative newcomer of the team to Norfolk, having moved here less than five years ago from over the border in Suffolk. Growing up in landlocked Hertfordshire, she always had a great love of the water and especially the sea, holidays as a child were often spent on the water, but it wasn’t until Sandra moved to Norfolk that she learnt to sail and could indulge her passion.
Sandra loves her adopted home of Norfolk, is a Borough & County Councillor and Chairman of a charitable trust involved in….yes you guessed it – sailing and water sports.
Her friends and family are entirely unsurprised by her wanting to take part in what is billed as ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, as it’s not the first time she’s set out to challenge herself; After learning to sail, she signed up for a leg of the 2017/18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and sailed over 4000 miles across the North Atlantic as a member of Team GREAT Britain. We’re not saying that politicians are competitive or anything…
So perhaps it was a little unsurprising that after doing a taster row with the King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club in 2017, a month later she was taking part in her first rowing race and it wasn’t long before she was thinking about taking her rowing to the next level. Surprisingly as someone who loves the water, especially sailing, power boating, rowing and kayaking, Sandra doesn’t actually like swimming. Something about getting wet being involved!
As a mum of two boys with Autism, Sandra feels that it’s important for them to grow up in an environment where nothing is impossible. Where ordinary people can do extraordinary things and if you’re willing to work hard, anything is achievable.