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Kiko Matthews breaks Atlantic rowing record

Kiko Matthews Image copyright PA
Image caption Kiko Matthews finished the 3000 mile solo journey from Gran Canaria in 49 days, breaking the previous record of 56 days

A brain tumour survivor has smashed the world record for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a female rower.

Kiko Matthews, 36, rowed the 21ft-long Soma of Essex for up to 16 hours a day, sleeping in two-hour shifts.

Shaving almost a week off the previous record, Ms Matthews travelled 3,000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria to Barbados in 49 days.

She said she wanted to "inspire women to challenge themselves."

Ms Matthews, who grew up in Herefordshire but now lives in London, was diagnosed with Cushing's disease in 2009.

'A bit proud'

The rare condition can cause tumours, memory loss, psychosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia and muscle wastage.

She had a second tumour removed in August 2017 whilst she was in training for the Atlantic crossing.

Ms Matthews was greeted by her parents, brother and nephew when she arrived in Barbados at 23:30 GMT.

"The thought that, eight months ago, I was lying in hospital having my brain operated on, and now I am here having rowed the Atlantic, I guess I am a bit proud", she said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Only five women have previously completed the journey solo

"I have shown that anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief, and support.

"I want to use my story to inspire women to challenge themselves."

Her efforts have so far raised more than £70,000 to help build a new intensive care unit at London's King's College Hospital, where she received life-saving treatment.

The previous record for the fastest crossing was 56 days.

Image copyright PA
Image caption After 50 days at sea she was greeted by her parents, brother and nephew

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