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Ex-marine sets new rowing record as he legs it across Atlantic

In the oar
zone: Lee
as he
raises flag
of Marines

A FORMER Royal Marine who lost his leg in an accident has smashed the solo rowing record for crossing the Atlantic.

Lee Spencer touched dry land yesterday after his epic 60-day journey from mainland Europe to South America.

The previous able-bodied record for the route was 96 days, set in 2002.

‘If I can beat an able-bodied record that is the reason why I wanted to do this — to prove that no one should be defined by disability,’ the 49-year-old told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.Moving around the boat was ‘quite difficult’ but he said: ‘That was the whole point.’

One final push: Mr Spencer rows into Cayenne, French Guiana, after 60 days at sea PICTURE: GETTY

Mr Spencer, who served in the armed forces for 24 years, plotted his 3,800-mile journey to French Guiana to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund.

Setting off from Portugal in January, he encountered whales, dolphins and turtles. He ‘didn’t get much sleep’ but his military service meant he was ‘quite used to hardship’. He previously said he was so determined to set a record he had only taken food for 90 days.

His supporters included Prince Harry, Ross Kemp and Joanna Lumley — who gave him a goodbye kiss.

Mr Spencer, of Horrabride, Devon, lost his right leg beneath the knee in 2014 when he was struck by debris from a car engine after he stopped to help an injured motorist.