Dagenham-born amputee enters the Guinness Book of World Records after epic solo row
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 September 2019
A Dagenham-born amputee has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records after he became the fastest person to row from Europe to South America.
Lee "Frank" Spencer was officially notified he is a world record breaker after smashing the able-bodied record by 36 days, completing the journey in 60 days, 16 hours and six minutes.
The epic row in a boat named Hope came three years after he took part in his maiden ocean crossing with a rowing crew of amputees in 2016.
Father-of-two Lee said: "To be in the Guinness Book of World Records is incredible. I would like to play it cool and pretend it's not much of a big deal, but it's a massive big deal. I never thought I would be in it."
The 50-year-old, who lived in Victoria Road as a child, described himself as a massive fan of the BBC TV show Record Breakers, with presenter Roy Castle and a founder of the Guinness World Records, Norris McWhirter.
Lee added he never imagined he would one day become a record breaker.
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Nicknamed The Rowing Marine, Lee has three entries in the famous book: the first amputee to row an ocean solo from continent to continent; the fastest crossing from Europe to South America by a physically disabled person and for beating the able bodied record.
Lee, who lost his right leg in a road accident, now shares the back page of the book with the most expensive pigeon and the longest living tapir in captivity.
And the former Royal Marine colour sergeant is not taking a break from physical challenge.
He is planning to kayak up the River Amazon and do a 1,000 mile triathlon, starting with swimming the English Channel, cycling Land's End to John O'Groats and ending with a marathon.
He now tours schools sharing the message that youngsters need to learn how to recover from failure more than how to succeed.
"When I lost my leg, I thought I had lost a part of myself and I would have to redefine who I was. But rowing the Atlantic the first time made me realise I was still the same person.
"If youngsters don't fail, they're not dreaming big enough," he said.