AN EXPLORER and environmental advocate from Penarth has spoken about her life travelling across the globe, after receiving an award from Downing Street.

Emily Penn received an award from prime minister Theresa May earlier this month for her work.

The 31-year-old, who currently lives in London, co-founded eXXpedition, an all-female marine research group which tackles pollution in the world’s oceans.

She said that living in Penarth was the reason she got into sailing.

“I grew up sailing Mirror and Topper sailing dinghies at Penarth Yacht Club, on the Bristol Channel,” said Ms Penn. “You could say that’s where it all began.”

Even though the former Stanwell School pupil has gone on to travel around the world, she said her seaside hometown continues to inspire her.

Ms Penn said: “Penarth was the perfect place to grow up. It’s a small town, but connected to both the sea and also a city, so I had a lot of freedom to explore both nature and city life which prepared me for travel elsewhere.”

Ms Penn was praised by Theresa May and given a Points of Light Award to mark the “significant contribution” she has made to environmental causes.

The 31-year-old said that through sailing, she learned the challenges our oceans are facing, which is why she got into her line of work.

“When I was 21 I had the opportunity to take a boat (the record-breaking biofuelled Earthrace) around the world,” she said.

“At first it was a way of hitching from the UK to a new job as an architect in Australia. Along the way I started to understand the plastic pollution, the collapse in fisheries, sea level rise. And I wanted to do something about it.”

Ms Penn is involved in many different projects.

For more information on her work and current projects, visit