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Historic Cheshire company backs ‘oar-some’ girls in Atlantic rowing challenge

Business 18/10/2021

4 friends prepare for rowing challenge backed by Mornflake

Four ‘oar-some’ friends are preparing for an epic rowing challenge across the Atlantic Ocean, backed by Mornflake in Crewe.

One Ocean Crew, a team of women in their 30s, hope to raise money and awareness of an ocean protection charity by taking on the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December.

With their search for corporate support hard-hit by the pandemic, the foursome have been thrown a lifeline by breakfast manufacturer Mornflake, an oat milling operation founded in Cheshire in 1675 making it one of the oldest family businesses in the country.

Now the adventure-seekers are pressing on with their final weeks of training with an ambitious goal in mind – to be the first all-female team past the finish line in one of the world’s toughest rowing challenges.

Their Skipper and Medical Lead is Jennifer Cullom, a Buckinghamshire-based physiotherapist who is helping her team-mates prepare for what she admits will be an ‘incredible feat of endurance and resilience’ battling the physical and mental extremes of more than 40 days out on the open ocean.

Undertaking the challenge with Jennifer are London-based landscape architect Emily Woodason and corporate investigator Janette Potgieter and Cornwall kayaking and wilderness expedition guide Erin Bastian

Jennifer said: “Even getting to the start line has required a Herculean effort of preparation, fundraising and of course physical training. Searching for sponsorship in the current economic climate has of course been hard. We tried over 100 companies so were thrilled when Mornflake agreed to be headline partner making our dreams a reality.

“Not only is their heritage wonderfully British and steeped in history, the family owners have long championed healthy lifestyles and are true champions of sustainability.

“Their mill is powered by a wind turbine and they believe there is no excuse for waste. They recycle and reuse everything they can and any by-product of their oats is used as feed for local livestock. We love that their values match ours and are excited to have them on our team.”

The incredible story of Mornflake spans 15 generations of the Lea family who began milling oats in rural South Cheshire more than 340 years ago. Today its premium porridge, muesli and granola products are enjoyed worldwide including the Caribbean island of Antigua where coincidentally, One Ocean Crew will end their epic journey early next year.

As Britain’s fourth oldest family firm, Mornflake has supported the agricultural industry for generations with its oats grown by a network of British farmers.

During the Second World War, it ‘Milled for Victory’ feeding the nation from a new factory in Crewe. In more recent times, the ‘Millers of Mighty Oats’ supported the DEFRA pandemic parcel scheme with millions of porridge packs sent to NHS workers, food banks and vulnerable people.

Jenny added: “To power our transatlantic row, rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day for more than 40 days, we need some serious fuel. Consuming more than 4000 calories a day, breakfast is a key meal for us. Mornflake Superfast porridge oats are the ultimate fuel to give us steady energy.

“These Mighty Oats have been powering us over the waves throughout our training rows and will be coming on the boat to help us across the Atlantic. We will begin each day with a Mornflake breakfast pre-prepared in sealed vacuum packs. Facing sleep deprivation and 20ft high waves, we will need this energy and resilience in bucket loads.”

The friends, who met virtually during the first lockdown, are passionate about ocean protection. They have chosen the Sea Ranger Service as their official charity and have a JustGiving page. After the race, they will sell their ‘eco-boat’ to boost funds for the cause which is dedicated to restoring ocean biodiversity while training young people for a maritime career.

Mornflake Managing Director James Lea said: “We are delighted our oat products are helping One Ocean Crew train for their mission and will be their staple food source on the row. It’s an incredibly brave and commendable effort to raise awareness of ocean protection and encourage people to live more sustainably.

“It’s important to us to us to work side by side with Mother Nature and keep the world the way it should be. So One Ocean Crew, we salute you. We will proudly chart your progress on the voyage.”

One Ocean Crew set sail from the Canary Island, La Gomera, on December 12. Their progress will be charted by Mornflake on social media.

For more on their mission go to ‘Mighty People’ Stories at