COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Bird Watts, new Medical Imaging Graduate, is rowing 3000 miles starting in December

Oarsome double record Atlantic rowing challenge for Medical Imaging Graduate

A medical imaging student is attempting to become a double world record breaker in a rowing challenge with her mother who has a hearing impairment.

Bird Watts will be part of a four woman team to set the record for being the first crew to have a hearing impaired rower and also be the oldest female crew to row the Atlantic this October. Mo O’Brien, Bird’s mother, has severe hearing difficulties and has already taken on a number of epic challenges including being part of a marathon, a bike ride in Kenya and rowing across to the Scilly Isles.

After finishing university, some students choose to have a gap year or find their first graduate job. However Medical Imaging graduate Bird, 32, has chosen to collect the ‘Oarsome Foursome’ together to raise money for charity.

Bird Watts, Mo O’Brien, Linda Whittaker and Claire Allinson are taking part in the 3,000 mile, three month rowing Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

Bird, Final Year Medical Imaging Student and team coordinator, said: “It has been hard to juggle study, work and preparing for this challenge, but that's also part of being normal and achieving extra things if you really want to. I have already started work as an Assistant Practitioner at Treliske Hospital in Cornwall and we are doing lots of fundraising outside of work hours. We still have some to raise to make it to the start line, but we’re confident that we can do it.”

Bird grew up in St Just, Penwith a coastal town in the west of Cornwall. She commutes daily from Mevagissey, in her home county, to Exeter for study and her self-proclaimed inability to sit still makes this a tough, but worthwhile struggle.

Bird said: “I asked some friends of varying backgrounds to describe in me three words. There was a common trend – bonkers, excitable and annoying! I think I can say I agree. I am generally quite excitable about life and love to do everything at all times and at full speed. This Atlantic trip is an epic journey that I can't wait to be a part of. The whole team, one of whom is my mum, are all passionate about the same belief ‘Life is for living, and anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it’ and in this case our bodies too! Any one of us, our family or friends could need the charities we are supporting at any point in their lives and we’re incredibly proud to be raising money for them.”

The aim for Bird and the crew is to raise more than £50,000 for local charities Cornwall Blood Bikes, Carefree and Exmouth & Lympstone Hospiscare.

The foursome start their journey on La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands and plan to land in Antigua, March 2020. The challenge length is around one eighth of the world’s circumference or approximately rowing from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back twice.

If you’d like to donate to Bird and her crew, click here and follow the donation links. Alternatively, you can contact the team via email to find out what you can do to help them.

To follow their journey through training and their challenge, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Date: 19 July 2019

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