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Students row into record books and double charity pledge

Jamie and Luke celebrate finishing the challenge

Jamie and Luke celebrate finishing the challenge

Jamie and Luke celebrate finishing the challenge

Press release issued: 4 February 2014

University of Bristol student Jamie Sparks and his friend Luke Birch have completed their Atlantic row, claiming the title of youngest pair to row the Atlantic, as well as raising a record breaking amount for charity.

The duo, known as ‘2 boys in a boat’, finished the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - described as the ‘world’s toughest endurance race’ - second in the pairs and fifth overall.  They are now members of an exclusive club - fewer people have rowed the Atlantic than travelled into space or climbed Mount Everest.

Throughout their 3,000 nautical mile journey they had to overcome 30 knot winds, huge waves and sleep deprivation during 54 days of non-stop rowing.

The boys survived on less than two hours sleep at a time, losing over a stone and a half each, despite consuming 6000 calories a day.  They lived in cramped and wet conditions, suffered salt sores and had some close encounters with flying fish.

On finishing, Jamie, a 3rd year anthropology student, said: “I am absolutely ecstatic, as you can imagine – just completely over the world and overwhelmed generally.”

Jamie, 22, and Luke, 21, are not only the youngest pair to row the Atlantic, but they have also become the biggest ever individual fundraisers for Breast Cancer Care.  Their fundraising total currently stands at more than £300,000, double what they initially set out to achieve.

They chose to support the charity as it is especially close to Luke’s heart - he lost his grandmother to breast cancer and his mother is recovering from a diagnosis in 2012.

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care, is thrilled that Luke and Jamie have safely arrived at the finish: “Not only are Jamie and Luke world record breakers who have left us humbled and inspired, they are our biggest ever individual fundraisers.  They have truly gone above and beyond.  Their dedication and commitment has been incredible.  We cannot thank Jamie and Luke enough.”

To find out more about their experiences or to donate, visit their website at

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