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Thatcham man victoriously completes Atlantic row keeping late wife's legacy alive

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A Thatcham man has been re-united with his five-year-old daughter this week after battling the Atlantic Ocean for over a month.

Widower Ed Smith rowed 3,000 miles, with his team Anna Victorious, in memory of late wife Anna Smith, and made it back onto land this Tuesday (January 18).

The team, comprising of Mr Smith and three friends, crossed the finish line, in fifth place, from a total of 30 teams, in Antigua for a victorious end to their journey, at 4.32pm local time.

The Anna Victorious team have completed their journey and are back on land. Picture by: @atlanticcampaigns
The Anna Victorious team have completed their journey and are back on land. Picture by: @atlanticcampaigns

They raised an amazing £32,000 for Victoria’s Promise, a cancer charity that helped the Smith family through Anna's battle with cancer.

Arriving at the race finish in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, they were welcomed by an emotional crowd with friends and family, including Alba, watching on.

At sea for 37 days, 8 hours, and 58 minutes, Mr Smith and the team - Rob Murray, Adam Green and Jack Biss - faced rough seas, blisters and sleep deprivation.

Ed Smith has been reuinted with daughter Alba, 5.Picture by: @atlanticcampaigns
Ed Smith has been reuinted with daughter Alba, 5.Picture by: @atlanticcampaigns

Anna Victorious had set sail on December 12 in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, widely regarded as the world's toughest row, with the 30 other teams.

Rowing from the Canary Islands to Antigua, they witnessed wondrous things, from wildlife like flying fish, dolphins and whales to bright moon sightings and shooting stars.

They also spent Christmas and New Year away from their families, something they found difficult, but they still managed to keep their friends and family updated on their journey.

Mr Smith also took a moment to send out a message to his daughter Alba for her fifth birthday, telling her he was giving her the gift of knowing "persistence, drive and purpose means that you can achieve amazing things".

Despite almost capsizing as they faced storms, winds and swells the height of two houses, their motto 'Do it for Anna' kept the boys going.

After Anna tragically lost her battle with cancer, in June 2018, Mr Smith began supporting Victoria's Promise, fundraising by doing an array of sporty and daring challenges.

Mr Smith said: "She is – was – an amazing person. We’re here to continue her legacy of inspiring and empowering people to find their dreams. ”

He said that he wanted to show his daughter that Anna's words were true: “Tell Alba she can do whatever she wants.”

Team-mate Rob Murray said: “The bite of missing family and loved ones really hit home.

"The pain of missing people was more than the row and the hands and the blisters."

He added: "The pain just didn’t matter anymore because we just had to get here and get back to see you guys.”

In addition to their fundraising to support Victoria’s Promise, the friends rowed for One For The Sea – an initiative launched by Talisker and Parley to help support the protection and preservation of 100 million square metres of sea forest by 2023.

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