• Phil Packer

Ocean Rower and Performance Life Coach, Helen Butters, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Helen has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

In May 2015, Helen was part of the female team, Yorkshire Rows, who were the first women to row across the North Sea to Holland. In December 2015, she rowed across the Atlantic as part of the renowned Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge; the world's toughest rowing race. She received a Guinness World Record for her achievement.

Helen and the Yorkshire Rows crew on their Atlantic crossing (Credit - Ben Duffy)

“Through my work with the Health Foundation and my experiences and time supporting students, I am aware of the increase in the number of young adults and students experiencing mental health challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the existing mental health difficulties faced by young adults; it is particularly tough for young adults from diverse communities and those who are vulnerable, have limited mobility or who have been bereaved or have experienced other trauma during this time.


The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) Vision to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK resonates with me both personally and professionally. I applaud BRIT for striving to unite the charity, education and sport sectors through their annual BRIT Challenges and to deliver an annual inclusive feel-good fundraiser in order to enable young adults and students of all abilities to participate.

The BRIT Challenges are already having a positive UK-wide impact on improving young adult mental health and fitness throughout the Higher Education and Further Education sectors; over the past two years, over 170 university and college teams have taken part in their annual BRIT Challenges.

To enable as many students and staff to take part, we need every UK university, college and students’ union to enter teams and promote the opportunity; the BRIT Challenge is an inspiring opportunity to unite students and young adults wherever they are (at home or on campus) as part of a team, raise vital funds for charities who support young adult mental health and is a great way to improve mental health and fitness.

I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and hope to encourage universities and colleges in the Yorkshire and Humberside region to enter teams. As the BRIT 2021 Challenge is in its final month, if they cannot take part this year, I urge every university and college to add the BRIT 2022 Challenge (taking place in February 2022) in their Calendar of Events so they have time to enter teams and encourage as many students and staff to take part.”

Helen Butters - BRIT Ambassador

Following Helen’s 2015 Ocean Rowing challenges, she co-authored a Sunday Times bestselling book Four Mums in a Boat. An award winning documentary of the same name was commissioned by National Geographic and has been seen by millions across the world.

Helen and the Yorkshire Rows crew in Antigua after crossing the Atlantic

In 2017, Helen appeared in New York and Germany to present the documentary. That same year, she was privileged to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York St John.

Helen is now a successful public and motivational speaker and has presented on a global platform. Based In York with her family, Helen has also supported students and staff in the Yorkshire and Humberside region by delivering talks to universities, colleges and schools including York St John University, the University of Leeds and the University of York.

The Yorkshire Rows crew - Frances Davies, Helen Butters, Janette Benaddi and Niki Doeg

Helen is also a qualified performance life coach helping others to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life. She works collaboratively with her clients to find meaning, understanding and solutions: empowering them to come up with the answers. She is passionate about the ethos of coaching as a powerful positive discipline and uses flexible effective tools which enable her clients to turn their belief into reality.

She has appeared on a number of television programs such as The One Show, BBC Breakfast, This Morning and Good Morning Britain.

Helen will be swapping 40 foot waves for the Pyrenees as her next adventure will see her cycling 1000 miles through 4 countries from Maggie’s Leeds to Maggie’s Barcelona in September 2021. Helen and her team will be raising money for Maggie’s Yorkshire.

For more information on Yorkshire Rows, please visit their website.

Helen is currently working at the Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group on a project run by the Health Foundation. She is leading the communication/engagement element of the Network Data Lab initiative; the aim of the project is to use linked data sets to produce insights on critical areas of population health management.