Debra Searle MVO MBE
Debra has packed an enormous amount into her life. Reading her CV is exhausting in itself!
To add to her first class honours degree, she has had entrepreneurial success with the launch of three limited companies, is a published author, has medals at World Championship level for Great Britain, has successfully rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean amongst other expeditions, presented over 40 programmes for the BBC, has an MBE from the Queen and has been appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order for her work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Rowing the Atlantic, Debra was heralded “Britain’s latest sporting heroine” when the media worldwide went crazy for the story of the 5ft 5” young lady who carried on rowing alone when her then husband, a 6ft 5” experienced oarsman, left the boat after developing an uncontrollable fear of the ocean. Debra, who was loving life at sea in a 23 foot plywood boat, saw no reason to stop and rowed on to become the youngest and only the third woman in the world to have rowed an ocean solo.
The 3000 mile journey, that was initially supposed to take 6 weeks, took Debra a staggering 3 ½ months, battling 30 foot waves, force 8 squalls and sharks, while having to dodge tankers that came too close for comfort on more than a few occasions.
The media’s response to Debra’s Atlantic success was phenomenal, although perhaps not surprising. Her spirit of adventure gained Debra an MBE and she was delighted to be appointed a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 2003, the youngest and only female trustee working alongside HRH Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Earl of Wessex.
Since rowing the Atlantic, Debra has continued to undertake major expeditions. She became the first Briton to complete the gruelling Yukon River Quest, one of the longest canoe races in the world and in January 2005 she successfully sailed across the Southern Ocean.
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