These four Mums are preparing for a Christmas like no other... Find out why

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The Mothership rowing team

While juggling jam-packed seasonal schedules and braving Christmas queues can feel daunting, four plucky mums are facing a very different set of challenges this December.

Felicity Ashley, Pippa Edwards, Jo Blackshaw and Lebby Eyres, aptly named The Mothership, are preparing to row 3,000 miles unaided, from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to Antigua as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The race, which starts in December and will take around 40 days, is renowned as one of the world's toughest rows. Fewer than 100 women have rowed an ocean as part of an all-female crew. 

The team of mums, who have 11 children between them, face the prospect of capsizing, encountering 50-foot waves and sharks – not to mention not being home with their families for Christmas. 

Though each crew member signed up varying reasons, they are united in their desire to inspire other women of all ages. Their endeavour will also raise money for children’s charity Noah’s Ark, the Felix Fund, and Women in Sport.

Pura has donated more than 4,000 of our Water UK certified Fine to Flush flushable wipes for The Mothership to use during their time at sea.

We spoke to Felicity, a mum of three whose youngest is aged four, before the team left for La Gomera. She told us that the crew were delighted to have found Pura wipes, which they will use to keep themselves clean for the entire journey.

“There's so much information about wipes causing marine pollution and we knew we needed to find a solution which wasn’t going to damage the environment," she said. "We are delighted that Pura wipes are genuinely biodegradable and will do no damage to the ocean whatsoever."

Pura’s flushable wipes disperse in moving water, so the used wipes can be discarded overboard into the ocean, lightening the load as the race progresses without causing any plastic pollution.

Our wipes also have gentle cleansing and skin soothing properties which should help keep the crew’s skin in good condition.

“I think they'll do the job that we need them to do in terms of keeping us clean and fresh,” said Felicity. 


The Mothership team in the rowing boat

Felicity,  head of Marketing and Brand, New Energy Platforms at British Gas, will be rowing alongside her sister Pippa whose husband completed the race in 2019/20. 

Despite the fact the team will face sleep deprivation, salt sores and physical extremes inflicted by the race, Felicity believes that by far the biggest difficulty will be missing her family while she’s away.

 “The day we leave is my husband's birthday, then we've also got Christmas away, and it's my eldest son's birthday, on the sixth of January. So those are big occasions, I suppose, where I think I'll feel it the most.

"But part of the motivation for doing this is to show our kids that whether you're male or female, old or young, if there's something you want to do, you can you do it if you put your mind to it and if you've got the right support behind you.

 “This will hopefully inspire them to do whatever it is that they want to do later in life.”

Pura knows that parents are awesome, but how does being a mum prepare you for a challenge such as this?

The Mothership team standing in the rowing boat

“I think it does help with the physical aspects, like the sleep deprivation," said Felicity, "but it’s also the resilience you get from being a parent when you're always bouncing from one thing to the next.

“Having all experienced the highs and lows of being parents stands us in good stead for all we’ll have to face during the race.”

The Mothership's route will take them from San Sebastian, La Gomera, Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua and Barbuda. They'll be rowing for 2 hours followed by 2 hours resting, day and night, for 40+ consecutive days at sea.

Juggling training with having three children and working can’t have been a doddle, but Felicity says fitting in the physical training has been much easier that some of the other aspects of preparing for the trip.

“I’ve tended to do all my training at home, mostly before the kids wake up," she admitted.

 “What we've all found is that the physical training has been the is the easier part, but the fitting in the five or six different mandatory courses that you have to do, then searching for all the stuff we need on the journey - these things just seem to take forever!

 “We couldn't possibly do this without the full support of our husbands and wider families." 

After teary fearwells, the team set off for La Gomera yesterday (29 November) ready for the race start on the 12 December.  Go Mothership! We wish you the best of luck!

To follow the Mothership's journey visit: To support their charities by making a donation, click here.

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