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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

World Champion, Steph Cullen, supports BRIT and champions the annual BRIT Challenge

We are delighted that Steph is part of our BRIT Ambassador family and is championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

Steph represented Great Britain at three consecutive rowing World Championships; she won silver in 2009 and gold in 2011. She was part of the Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club crew who won the Boat Race in 2003, and Boat Club Captain and President of Hertford College Boatclub.

Steph with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

“As a former student at the University of Oxford, I appreciate that young adults and students experience many mental health challenges. I am also acutely aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing mental health difficulties and life is very tough for those who feel isolated and are vulnerable; there has never been a more important time for us to support the mental health and fitness of young adults.

Young adults and students must receive the right support when they need it, therefore it’s great to see that BRIT are inviting every university and college team taking part in the BRIT Challenge to choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities.

I am delighted that the BRIT Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enables students and staff of all abilities to take part; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). I hope every UK university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union enters teams in the BRIT Challenge and encourages their students and staff to take part; at home or on campus.

Olympians, Paralympians, elite athletes, adventurers and explorers are being invited to join the BRIT Ambassador family and promote the BRIT Challenge at universities and colleges of their choice, encourage participation, help destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. This is also a fantastic opportunity for Great Britain’s current and former rowers to invite their rowing clubs to enter teams and encourage all their members to take part.

I am thrilled to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family and look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at the University of Oxford as they take on the BRIT Challenge. It would be fantastic if all of Oxford’s 39 colleges enter teams in this feelgood February fundraiser; I urge rowers at Oxford to add the miles they compete, on ergos or the water, to their college team’s 2,022 mile targets.”

Steph Cullen

World Champion

Steph celebrating with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

Steph was educated at Bury Grammar School for Girls before studying at Hertford College, Oxford and graduating from the University of Oxford in 2003 with a Master of Chemistry degree.

Never intending on going to the river for the fresher session, a friend of Steph’s invited her down to Hertford College Boatclub. Steph then went on to lead them to a historic blades in Summer Eights 2002, and to be appointed Boat Club Captain and then President.

In 2003, Steph was a member of the Oxford Lightweight Women’s Crew who won the Boat Race by two lengths.

Steph represented Great Britain at three Rowing World Championships; in 2009, she won silver in Poznan and then in 2011, won gold as part of the lightweight quad sculls with Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis.

After the World Championships in 2011, Steph retired from elite rowing to pursue a professional career in the corporate sector.

Since 2018, Steph has been a Performance Coach after gaining a Diploma in Transformational Coaching, with the aim of helping high performance individuals improve their mindset and reach their potential.

Steph with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

To find out more about the rowing, please visit the British Rowing website.

You can follow Steph on Instagram.


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