GREAT Britain team has Downing Street date ahead of Race Start

28 August 2015

The GREAT Britain team was invited to No 10 Downing Street today ahead of officially naming its yacht in the Race Village. Following a photocall in front of the famous door, the team also received an official Foreign Office briefing on the campaign which they will represent as they race around the world.

This is the second consecutive time GREAT Britain has entered a team in the Clipper Race. This government campaign showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer and welcomes the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

Small and medium-sized British businesses, including top boat builders and specialists from the UK's £19 billion marine sector, joined crew members at the yacht naming reception where Ed Pikett, Chief Campaigns Officer from the Prime Minister’s Office, said: “The Great Campaign has been a massive success story for the UK and the Clipper Race has been huge and incredibly significant part of that. We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this hugely inspirational and unique event.

“We wish Pete and the crew the very best from the Prime Minister and everyone at the government. Bring it home for us!”

The GREAT Campaign exists in over 144 countries and is worth 1.7 billion as a top 50 world brand. It celebrates British culture, tourism, business, adventure, sport, heritage, technology, innovation, and much more on a global scale.

In marine business alone, the UK is ranked as the third largest economy for boatbuilding in Europe, contributing around 10 per cent of all global exports in the sector and directly employing almost 90,000 people. It is also the fourth largest shipbuilder in Europe and the third largest in boatbuilding.

GREAT Britain skipper Pete Thornton said: “To lead a team around the world in the Clipper Race is a huge honour in itself, but to lead the GREAT Britain team clearly adds a whole new layer of pride. It was a pleasure to take the team to Downing Street and the Foreign Office today.

“Everyone’s been working really hard so it was a welcome break to all get away from the boat and learn what it is we are standing for. We’re all counting down until race start day and putting our hard work into action. We’re certainly hoping to finish in the top one!”

The GREAT Britain crew come from all over England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as India, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy, Olympians Bill Lucas (Rowing London 2012), Nathan Robertson (Badminton Athens 2006) and Abi Oyepitan (100 and 200 metres London 2012), plus Paralympian Charlotte Evans (Super-G down-hill Skiing Gold Sochi Paralympics 2014) are also among the team. Having no previous sailing experience, each is taking on the challenge of a different sport to celebrate Britain’s spirit of adventure.

Phil Orford, 53, a CEO from Cheshire and Team Coordinator for the GREAT Britain team said: “Today our team learnt what our sponsor, GREAT Britain, is all about. We had the privilege of visiting No10 and the Foreign Office to be welcomed and applauded as worldwide ambassadors for everything that is GREAT about our country.

“Our goal, as well as that of competing for podium positions in the race itself, is to represent our country in places as far afield as Rio and Vietnam, promoting international trade, culture, tourism and education to a worldwide audience - what an incredible honour!

“For us as a team, and individually, the challenge we have set ourselves cannot be underestimated. To compete and challenge in the longest endurance event in the world aboard the GREAT Britain yacht, whilst promoting the best of Great Britain, is likely to be an experience few of us will be able to surpass - and one which will be life changing for us all.”

The tenth edition Clipper Race departs on Sunday 30 August and will return to London on 30 July 2016.

Want to take on the challenge for yourself? We're now recruiting for the 2017-18 race. Click here to apply and find out more.

Click here find out more about the GREAT Britain campaign.

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