Dagenham veteran amputee completes world record row

PUBLISHED: 07:28 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:15 09 February 2016

The team celebrating breaking a new world record

The team celebrating breaking a new world record

copyright Sophie Bolesworth.

Four amputee ex-servicemen rowed their way to a new world record and a special congratulations from Prince Harry.

Lee Spencer celebrating breaking a new record with a drinkLee Spencer celebrating breaking a new record with a drink

The Row2Recovery team crossed the finish line after a 3,000 mile hard slog across the Atlantic on Thursday afternoon – marking the end of 46 days and six hours on the water.

A special video message recording by the Prince congratulated the team, who included Dagenham-born Royal Marine Lee Spencer, for becoming the first all-amputee team to row across an ocean.

Speaking to the Post, Lee said: “I’m overwhelmed and humbled by the support and grateful to have proved that disabled people should not be defined by their injury and there is life beyond injury.”

The four man crew, who have just three legs between them, far surpassed their expectations of completing the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in 55 days to land the eighth spot in the competition, finishing just nine days behind the winners.

Row 2 Recovery team on the final stretch of their trip across the AtlanticRow 2 Recovery team on the final stretch of their trip across the Atlantic

Gina Brancher, Lee’s mum, said: “There are no words to describe just how proud I am of Lee.

“Whilst he was on the ocean, like any mum would, I was worried for my son and was addicted to watching his progress on the Talisker whiskey Atlantic challenge race tracker site.”

Family, friends and supporters were waiting on Antigua’s English Harbour to congratulate and celebrate the team’s success.

“When the horns of the moored boats signalled their approach into English harbour I was ecstatic, in tears, bursting with pride and at the same time relieved that my boy was coming home safe,” Gina added. “I have always known that if anybody could do it, he could. He has the ability to always give 110 per cent and when needed dig even deeper.”

Lee, who attended Bishop Ward school, now known as All Saints, lost his leg after he was hit by flying debris when he stopped to help the victims of a motorway car crash on the M3 in Surrey in 2014.

The team has raised £26,445 so far for Help for Heroes, Blemsa, Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund and Row2Recovery.

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