PUPILS from Hoe Bridge School were thrilled to meet a man who is planning to row solo across the Atlantic – especially as he took his boat along.

Elliot Awin delivered the wow factor when he showed the children the bullet-like craft he will be relying on to get him there safely.

Not only did they hear his inspiring story, but a lucky few got to take the helm and experience the craftsmanship and innovation  the boat will offer Elliot as he embarks on his challenge later this year.

Elliot is raising money on behalf of his charity Wave Wrangler, which was founded by Elliot after five years of being in and out of hospitals trying to maintain a regular heart rhythm.

According to the Wave Wrangler website, atrial fibrillation is one of the most common forms of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) and a major cause of stroke. 

Around 1.5 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – around one in eight are not treated effectively. 

It is estimated there are at least 270,000 people aged over 65 with undiagnosed, or silent, atrial fibrillation in the UK.

The charity will create a platform for those living with arrhythmia to share stories and raise funds to provide defibrillators to underfunded sports centres and communities.

Elliot will be rowing more than 3,000 miles unsupported to prove that, despite having an implanted pacemaking device, anything is possible.

When Elliot had a pacemaker implanted in 2020 he had to give up rugby and contact sport, so he turned his attention to rowing. 

He then became interested in a trans-Atlantic crossing and set himself this challenge. 

After three years of planning, he is now ready to set off and wants to be the first person to row the Atlantic solo with a pacemaker.

Several pupils agreed that although the challenge was huge, they believed Elliot could do it.

One said: “I hope I can do something this amazing when I’m older. He’s a real-life superhero.”

Elliot leaves on December 12 and aims to row for about 18 hours a day over 30 to 60 days. He will leave from Gran Canaria, the boat having been shipped down before he flies down to meet it.

He aims to land in Antigua, the wind and weather playing their part in driving the boat across. Wind and current are better than calm waters, said Elliot.

Although it is a two-man boat, with two sleeping areas, it will carry only Elliot plus a lot of tech equipment and dried food. 

All at Hoe Bridge wished Elliot lots of luck on his adventure, and they will be able to follow his progress as they can track his progress across the Atlantic. 

For more information, visit www.wavewrangler.co.uk