Napoli inspires laura's row

PUBLISHED: 12:02 12 July 2008 | UPDATED: 16:42 14 April 2010

TEA and sandwiches kept a Sidmouth woman going as she rowed from Salcombe to Sidmouth to raise £1,300 for the Marine Conservation Society.

TEA and sandwiches kept a Sidmouth woman going as she rowed from Salcombe to Sidmouth to raise £1,300 for the Marine Conservation Society. Laura Loudon-Griffiths, 51, was inspired to take up the society's coastal challenge by the Napoli disaster which left huge quantities of debris on Devon's beaches last year. The endeavour saw her complete nearly 13 hours of non-stop rowing, covering a distance of about 35 miles. Mrs Loudon-Griffiths said: "With a life spent by the sea you realise the importance of keeping it healthy, hence my support of the society." Although there was a good weather forecast, for the day, conditions were unfavourable with Laura first having to row her 18-foot scull into easterly winds for much of the way, and against a cross wind for the last five miles when Sidmouth was in view. Husband Tom and friend Andy Riddler supplied Laura with tea and sandwiches from a sailing boat alongside. Tom said cross winds were the most difficult thing to deal with in a rowing boat because it rocks it from side to side. Laura said, after 12 hours of paddling, she arrived to a fantastic reception from family and friends. Her row was part of the MCS Coastal Challenge, which hopes sponsored rowers will cover the whole 11,477 miles around the British coast to raise money for conservation. A tireless campaigner for a tertiary sewage treatment system in the town, part of her goal was to pay back the society for its support of her campaign. She said the MCS was trying to prevent disasters like the grounding of the Napoli and the huge harm such incidents cause to the marine environment. With seven tenths of the earth under water, Laura said: We know more about outer space than our own planet." She thanked all who gave money to MCS and Concept II who loaned her a rowing machine for training. The society is looking for others to join the Coastal Challenge and that includes any kind of sponsored event that covers distance. Call (01989) 561587 for more information.

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