Four women are planning on undertaking the challenge of a lifetime – rowing across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the World’s Toughest Row.

Sheila McGhee, from Southchurch, Clare Taylor, and Jo Murray, from Leigh, and Sam Wood, from Mersea Island, have formed the rowing group The Only Way is Rowing.

They hope to tackle a race across 3,000 miles of ocean which will see them battling 39 other crews.

Sheila, 50, said: “We wanted to challenge ourselves, to prove what’s possible because we are all rowers and we want to inspire women and older people, so we decided to do the race in December 2025.

“All we are doing is for Essex.

“We are passionate and we want to inspire people of all generations.

“It’s going to be brutal; we are living in a solar-powered vessel and two or three times across the journey we will be cleaning the bottom of the boat. There are whale sharks and a risk of capsizing – most crews do capsize.

“We will be rowing two hours on and two hours off in shifts, for 24 hours for around 45 days, which is over 1.5 million oar strokes between us.”

The team will be participating in an Essex-made Ocean rowing boat, set to be fitted out in February and delivered in March next year, with the crew having to undergo more than120 hours of night rowing practice and a brutal training schedule to get them up to shape over the next two years.

“We will step off the boat different people,” Sheila said.

“We are novices in terms of rowing an ocean. We are training but the first time we see a 50ft wave, we will all be screaming.

“And you can hallucinate and be violently sick from the waves.

“Our toilet is a bucket, and we have five to six pairs of clothes.

“It’s not glamorous but we will all be over 50 when we do the race and we want to prove it’s never too late to inspire and push out your comfort zone.”