Taylor Wessing lawyer who rowed Atlantic in memory of his mother breaks world record

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By Katie King on

The emotional story behind senior associate George Biggar’s transatlantic feat

A Taylor Wessing lawyer is now part of a world record-beating transatlantic rowing team.

When George Biggar isn’t advising big-name real estate clients, he’s rowing as one of The Four Oarsmen — the first-ever team to cross the Atlantic in less than 30 days. Biggar and his friends Dicky Taylor (who works at Accenture), Peter Robinson (a farmer) and Stuart Watts (a strategic account director) rowed a time of 29 days and 15 hours, breaking the previous world record by six days.

The gang had hoped to complete the 3,000-mile race in 40 days, rowing in two-man, two-hour shifts. Yet, while at sea and despite surviving on filtered seawater and dehydrated food, they surged into world record pace. Relatives hoping to join them at the finish line had to reschedule flights and hotels after it became clear the amateur crew would be arriving ahead of schedule.

It’s a hugely impressive achievement, one made all the more impressive given that all the oarsmen have demanding day jobs. On this, University of Leeds graduate Biggar said:

“Taylor Wessing have been so supportive of us, as The Four Oarsmen, and every step of the way. They not only allowed me the scope to undertake this journey, and provided a significant financial contribution, they positively encouraged me and my teammates in every possible way when we decided to take on this challenge.”

But perhaps the most impressive achievement of all is that the team has raised £250,000 for charity in the process, boosted by a £20,000 contribution from Taylor Wessing.

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The four friends entered the race as a fundraiser for two charities: Mind and Spinal Research UK. The former is particularly close to Biggar’s heart because his mother, lawyer Anne Fisher, endured a long battle with mental illness. Tragically, in 2011 she was found washed up on the seashore near the family home, drowned.

The team’s decision to support Spinal Research UK is born out of a friendship Robinson struck up with Ben Kende, a once-rising star of Hong Kong rugby.

He sustained a serious injury and is now a tetraplegic with no use of his legs and limited use of his arms. Despite the adversity he has faced, Kende has recently completed a degree in finance and marketing and is currently studying for a law degree at Sydney University. The Four Oarsmen’s website also states that Biggar’s father, a lawyer, is permanently brain-damaged and wheelchair-bound following a car crash, while when Watts was 18, his brother was involved in a motorbike accident which left him in a coma.

Biggar said:

“When we were really hitting the wall, that’s what kept us going: the encouragement of our supporters, and the knowledge that we were making such a difference for two very important charities.”

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