York & North Yorkshire

Atlantic rowers awarded Freedom of Selby

Frances Davies (from left), Helen Butters, Niki Doeg and Janette Benaddi Image copyright Welcome to Yorkshire
Image caption The team that beat the Atlantic: (left to right) Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg and Janette Benaddi

Four North Yorkshire women, who became the oldest all-female crew to row across the Atlantic, have been awarded the Freedom of the Selby district.

Two of the four women live in the the area and the council said it was the first time it had granted the honour.

The Yorkshire Rows completed the 3,000-mile challenge in February.

Niki Doeg, 45, Helen Butters, 45, Frances Davies, 47, and Janette Benaddi, 51, met at a rowing club in York three years ago.

Yorkshire Rows was one of 26 crews taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and were raising money to help build a cancer care centre in Leeds.

Some of the funds will also be donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Mary Weastell, chief executive of the council, said: "This is an incredible achievement, and with two of the team coming from the Selby district we wanted to do something special to mark their outstanding success.

Image copyright BEN DUFFY
Image caption The crew encountered a hurricane, power failures, flying fish, seasickness and injuries to complete the endurance challenge

"As well as the crossing, which was gruelling at times, the team has raised significant money for charity too, which is a great achievement in itself.

"This is the first time the Council has awarded the 'freedom of the district', and the Yorkshire Rows absolutely deserve our support and recognition in this way for what they've done."

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