AN emotional Finn Christo is back in the UK after a gruelling eight weeks at sea with the Bolton Atlantic Challenge crew.
Mr Christo was greeted by his pregnant wife Lei and his family who all surprised the 32-year-old at Gatwick airport in an emotional reunion.
After battling 3,000 miles through severe weather along with team-mates Mark Brocklehurst, aged 52, Matt Nuttall, aged 44, and Nick Griffiths, aged 42, Mr Christo says he was “in shock” at seeing his wife’s blooming four-month bump.
He said: “Coming back to England through the airport and seeing my wife was amazing. She didn’t have a bump when I left and now it’s massive. It’s a huge shock.
“After everything I now just want to concentrate on being a better husband, son, brother and soon a father. Apparently the two hours on, two hours off system that we had on the boat will be good practice for me when the baby comes along.”
Mr Christo revealed that he left motivational messages for his rowing mate Mr Griffiths on the wall of their cabin — and that the pair have even discussed doing this again next year.
He said: “We were not a group of friends at first as such; just four men from different walks of life with the same drive to raise money for Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
“Nick and I were sharing the same cabin and would write motivational messages to each other on the walls. One of the things I wrote was that I would never row across the ocean again unless Nick was with me.
“Whilst I was out there I said that I would never do this again but in the last week I thought that I might just do it — and Nick said the same. So watch this space.”
To donate to the team, which is raising money for a mentoring project at BLGC, visit justgiving.com/BoltonAtlanticRowingChallenge l THE wait to see their loved ones is not over for Matt Nuttall and Nick Griffiths — who have had their passports stolen.
The pair are now waiting to see when they will be allowed back to the UK to join their families who have not seen them since mid November.
Mark Brocklehurst is due back at Manchester Airport tomorrow.