BY RACHEL ADDISON
A South London school rowing team are helping one woman’s incredible record-breaking attempt.
Pupils at Sydenham High School, Westwood Hill, are supporting entrepreneur and adventurer, Kiko Matthews, as she tries to become the fastest female to row the Atlantic Ocean solo and unsupported.
Ms Matthews is attempting the feat to fundraise for a new critical care unit at King’s College Hospital, Camberwell – whose staff saved her life twice in her battle with Cushing’s disease.
The Sydenham rowers are rowing 3,000 miles to raise £1,000 and mark the same distance Ms Matthews will row across the Atlantic. The girls are dedicating every spare moment to the challenge, rowing on the water and indoor machines in their break times, lunch hours and after school.
Captain of Boats, Phoebe Emburey, said of the challenge: “It’s fantastic to be in Kiko’s 100TogetHER team and be part of her world record attempt while helping to raise money for such a great cause.
“We’ll be with her every mile of her journey and we know she can do it.”
The rowing team learnt of Ms Matthews’ cause when she visited the school as a guest speaker in July. Empowered by her challenge, the girls joined Ms Matthews’ 100ToghetHER collective. Having recently visited the school’s rowers and joining Elena, a Year 11 student, on the water, Ms Matthews said: “I am delighted to have Sydenham High rowers on board with me.
“This challenge is about them too; it proves that anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief and support. I want to use my story to inspire women to challenge themselves on many levels.
“Whether a physical, social or mental challenge, recognising the journey and developments you make, is key to developing confidence and independence.”
Sydenham High School’s headmistress, Katharine Woodcock, said: “Kiko certainly embodies our motto of Fear Nothing and we are very proud to be supporting her on her amazing journey for such a worthy cause.”
The Sydenham rowers and all other supporters of the 100TogetHER community will be joining Ms Matthews on her journey in spirit, with photos and words of encouragement featuring on the inside of her boat’s cabin.
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