Rowersome Co Armagh adventurer defies odds to cross Atlantic in broken canoe

A County Armagh woman, has successfully rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a canoe.

Linda Blakely, celebrated her 50th birthday while on the waves and has so far raised more than £100,000 for charity.

She arrived into Barbados on Thursday after a grueling 3000 mile journey from Gran Canaria that took more than 54 days.

Linda's trip was nearly over before it had properly begun when she capsized only two days into the journey and broke her boat.

"It was quite shocking" Linda said and she added: "I didn't want to get rescued, I lost two of my oars as well. The waves just ripped the oars out of my hand and they break the gate, which is the round thing that the oar sits in.

"So I put my spare one on and that broke as well, so then I had to tie it up with string and I still had another 2500 miles to row."

Linda had her ups and downs on the boat, but nothing was going to stop her: "I did fear for my life out there on the ocean. I never knew the waves could be so big, I did have a few tantrums and a few breakdowns and I would rant and swear at the sea but you just vent and then you feel better."

Linda lives in London and runs three homes for children with special needs.

So far her adventure has raised more than £100,000 for the charity Action Medical Research which funds vital research into childhood diseases and treatments to help save lives.

It is an issue that is close to her heart.

"One of my managers in my care homes has a very sick little girl.

"She has a very rare genetic illness, it didn't even have a name, they just called it after the defective gene and when she was diagnosed with it there were only eight little girls who had it, so even Great Ormond Street hospital is learning all along with her and we need to find cures."

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