A WOMAN is raising money for her cousin who is rowing 3,500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to support ex-marines.

Jessica Thompson, 27, from Billericay, is hosting a charity event to raise cash for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund in support of Lee Spencer, knowing as ‘the rowing marine’.

Mr Spencer, 48, will be taking on the epic challenge in a bid to become the first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported from Gibraltar to South America. He will be finishing at Venezuela.

He served in The Royal Marines for 24 years, but in 2014, he lost his right leg when he pulled over to help a motorist on the M3 while off-duty. He was hit by flying debris as he made his way to the motorist’s car and his leg was severed in the impact.

Ms Thompson said he is on a personal journey to challenge the perceptions around disabilities. She said: “Lee is trying to show everyone life is not over just because you have a disability.

"I am running this charity event to support Lee, who will be a guest speaker. It will take place after his big journey, so people can have the chance to ask him questions. We really want to inspire people.

“We’re a little nervous for Lee. The first 48 hours will be the most daunting because you’re still adapting to the situation. But Lee enjoys these major challenges, so we’re confident he will achieve his goal.”

Mr Spencer is also aiming to beat the current Guinness World Record, which is held by an able-bodied person, of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes.

He said: “I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations. It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled.

"I hope I am able to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise awareness and funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me.”

Mr Spencer, who is from Dagenham, will set sail on January 18. The charity event will take place on May 25 at Stock Brook Country Club.