The crew of the Bexhill Trust Challenger met up last week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of winning the inaugural Indian Ocean Rowing Race.
Nick and Phil McCorry, Ian Allen and Matt Hellier rowed 3,132 nautical miles unaided – starting from Perth, Australia on April 19, 2009, and crossing the finishing line in Mauritius 68 days and 19 hours later – setting three world records in the process.
On their return home they were awarded the Freedom of Bexhill for their achievements, which had most of Bexhill engrossed for more than two months.
They were the first recipients of the Freedom of Bexhill for 40 years and also the last to date. They were honoured at a packed-out reception at the De La Warr Pavilion on their return to the town. The rowing challenge also saw the four men raise nearly £20,000 for the Stroke Association. They were later named the charity’s Fundraisers of the Year.
Meeting up for a meal and a celebration drink was the first time since 2009 that all four crew members had been altogether in the same place.
Since their epic row the boys have moved on in life.
For Phil McCorry one ocean rowing challenge wasn’t enough so along with Dan Renner he rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 2014. He still works for East Sussex County Council and is now married with two children.
Nick McCorry and Matt Hellier are also both married and also have two children. Matt actually proposed during the challenge. Nick now manages a fireplace company while Matt has his own media management company. Both Phil and
Nick still row for Bexhill Rowing Club competing each week in regattas along the Kent and Sussex coast.
Still single, Ian Allen joined the Royal Navy. Currently a Petty Officer, he is a submariner spending up to three months at a time submerged.