PROUD family and friends have welcomed home Nick Griffiths after he returned to Bolton after completing a gruelling 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic.
Mr Griffiths, one quarter of the Bolton Atlantic Challenge team, is now at home with his family after the rowers reached the end of their adventure in Antigua last Sunday.
And his neighbours have decked his street in banners, bunting and flags to welcome the returning hero home.
The 42-year-old said: “You say you would never do it again but filter out the bad bits afterwards.
“On the boat we talked about how much we would have to be paid to do this again but as soon as we finished we were talking about what we would do next.”
It took the teammates 59 days to complete the demanding feat, which they hope will raise £250,000 to extend a Junior Mentoring Project at BLGC.
Mark Brocklehurst, aged 52, and 32-year-old Finn Christo were reunited with their families early last week but Nick and Matt Nuttall, aged 44, were delayed in Antigua after their passports were stolen.
They were greeted by their excited families at the arrivals gates of Manchester Airport on Friday afternoon.
Family man Mr Griffiths, of Sedgefield Drive, Smithills, said it was “surreal but great” to see wife Janine and daughters Amy, aged 17, and 12-year-old Hannah again.
He added: “It was lovely to have my family pick me up from the airport – we’re very close. Janine made a nice dinner with champagne but it got to 9pm and I was falling asleep. Getting used to the cold again is a bit of a shock to the system too.”
Mr Griffiths said the Bolton boys are “friends for life” with their international fellow rowing teams but found the monotony of life on the boat the hardest thing to deal with.
He added: “There were no flight paths over the sea so it felt extremely isolated at times.
“You could go weeks and see nothing but ocean and cloud.
“If the weather was severe you wouldn’t even see wildlife.
“Physically you don’t have to be superhuman to do it, but it was more of a mental strain to cope with being away day after day, hour after hour.”
Wife Janine admitted she had found being apart from her husband tough and said she was glad it was all over.
She added: “Last week when they completed the challenge we were on such a high on Tuesday thinking that Nick was coming home.
“The last few days when he was delayed were horrible, worse than the whole time apart.
“The kids love that he is back. I am not letting him do it again — he is staying here now.”
Go here to donate to the team.