Heatwave in Manchester

Manchester Airport today provided a spectacular welcome for two of its fire fighters who arrived home after completing an epic 75-day row across the Atlantic Ocean for charity in ‘the world’s toughest rowing race’.

Rowing to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice, St Anne’s Hospice and children’s charity Childflight; Dean Jagger and Neil Gyllenship – aka Team Heatwave – left La Gomera in Tenerife on 4th January and after rowing more than 3000-miles, finally landed at Antigua Harbour late on Saturday 20th March, crossing the finish line in the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race.

After taking a few days to recover, the pair finally arrived ‘home’ at Manchester Airport’s Terminal Two, where the aircraft was given a spectacular water cannon salute from colleagues in their fire trucks, before being greeted by family, friends and colleagues as they climbed down the steps of aircraft for an emotional reunion.

Manchester Airport Fire Service’s Watch Manager and Team Heatwave member, Neil Gyllenship, 34, said as has was reunited with his family: “It’s all a little overwhelming because we have missed everyone so much. We really weren’t expecting all this welcome, but it’s brilliant to be home. We’ve been eating boil in the bag food and drinking purified seawater for the past 11 weeks. I’ve lost 3 stone in the process. I’m really looking forward to having fish and chips later!”

Manchester Airport Fire Service Fire-fighter Dean Jagger, 40, added: “To have actually achieved this and all in the name of charity amazing – it has been such a fantastic experience. We’ve not got any plans to do any rowing again soon; in fact, if I never see another boat again ever that would be fine. I’m really looking forward to having a shave and just getting back to normal.”

Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Cornish, said: “It is a great pleasure to have Neil and Dean home after their fantastic adventure.  Finishing tenth in such a renowned and difficult race, with neither of them ever having rowed before is amazing.  We are all very proud of them for what they have achieved.

“I would personally like to thank of them both, along with all the sponsors of Team Heatwave, especially Virgin Atlantic who flew the lads back to Manchester, so they can now get back to work!”

Fundraising is still taking place, if you wish to make a donation, please visit the official Team Heatwave website: www.team-heatwave.co.uk

Published on: 29/03/2010 00:00:01