03:07AM, Thursday 07 November 2013
A rower from Windsor has been presented with a prestigious award for helping to raise more than $40,000 for charity.
James Cook, of Clarence Road, was awarded the first ever Parmigiani Spirit Award at a ceremony in London on Thursday, October 31.
The former St John's Beaumont pupil rows for the University of London Boat Club (ULBC) and has taken part in a number of charity events.
"It was fantastic," said the 21-year-old on winning the award.
"It was a bit overwhelming, especially as it was an inaugural one, but I was very happy."
In 2011, James rowed 1,000km down the Zambezi River in Africa as part of the Row Zambezi Expedition, which generated more than $40,000 - around £24,888 - in contributions for Village Water.
The charity helps small communities in Africa to develop the infrastructure to provide clean, fresh water supplies for their homes.
James, a final year mechanical engineering student at University College London, said: "It was an amazing experience.
"We rowed down the Zambezi to Victoria Falls and I saw a lot of scary things with crocodiles and hippos in the river. It was completely out of normality."
He added: "Conditions were cold in the morning and hot in the evening, temperatures could change as much as 20 degrees a day."
James will return to the Zambezi in August for another expedition to create a rowing camp on Lake Kariba.
He said: "By setting up the camp next year it will help to raise awareness of the charity and will promote the sport in the region."
Parmigiani Fleurier is a Swiss watch brand. The Parmigiani Spirit Award was open to university rowers worldwide who demonstrated the core values of rowing in their life and also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people's lives.
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