Dame Ellen awarded France's highest decoration by President Sarkozy in Greenwich 28/3/08

At a ceremony at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich yesterday (27 March), Dame Ellen MacArthur was awarded France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur, by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This was a formal recognition of the award that was bestowed upon Ellen after she set a new solo non-stop round the world record of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds in February 2005.

In his speech, the President highlighted the reasons why Ellen had been chosen for this prestigious award by saying that Ellen is a symbol of Franco-British friendship – adored by people from both countries.

Ellen responded saying it is a huge honour to receive this award, from a country she had set off from on some of her greatest adventures. She has spent a great deal of time in France over the past 11 years, and the support and warmth shown by its people has been truly touching.

She also mentioned she feels huge gratitude towards the incredible team she works with, “as it was as much their commitment and drive as [my] own which has lead to where [we] are today.”