OXFORDSHIRE rower Frankie Allen played a key role as Great Britain’s Paralympic rowing crew claimed an emotional gold at the European Rowing Championships.

Allen, from Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, combined with Ed Fuller, Morgan Fice-Noyes, Giedre Rakauskaite and inspirational coxswain Erin Kennedy for gold in the PR3 mixed coxed four.

The 21-year-old helped the British crew conquer tough conditions and illness in the camp to retain their European title at Lake Bled in Slovenia.

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The Championships began exactly one year to the day since Kennedy was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She had a double mastectomy in January and was given the all clear a few weeks later, marking her return to rowing with European gold.

Allen said: “Just having Erin back in the boat, it was the added motivation of wanting to do it for her and hopefully for the next bit of the Paralympic cycle.

“We’ve had a bit of a rocky week, so the fact we pulled it off, we had our targets and set them for ourselves.

“It’s amazing we pulled this off with our new line-up and we’ve got to keep developing through to the World Championships.”

• British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the team, head to britishrowing.org