A BARRY firefighter has returned from his epic row across the Atlantic to a hero's welcome at Barry Island – and confessed that during his 45-day journey, around "40 minutes were good".

43-year-old John Haskell and his Ely firefighting colleague Jamie Windsor completed their charity 3000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge when they landed, fourth out of 17 starting teams, in Barbados.

There they received a rapturous reception from holiday makers, Islanders and even Sir Cliff Richard!

And on Monday, John was greeted by Barry Island supporters, Vale Mayor Cllr John Clifford and Vale AM Jane Hutt at Marco's Café, having already been welcomed home in Rhoose the day before with a fire engine escort.

Also at John's homecoming was friend and fellow fundraiser, Dirty Sanchez star Matthew Pritchard.

John and colleague Jamie are raising money for the Firefighters charity, Help For Heroes, Breast Cancer Care and the WRVS.

The dad-of-two, who is already planning new challenges that don't take him away from his family, thanked everyone in Barry for their welcome and the support throughout the journey that kept them going when they wanted to down oars.

"It means everything to come home to such a reception," said John.

"I feel quite humble.

"It was horrific out there."

John and Jamie battled relentless 40-50ft waves, suffered sleep deprivation, hallucinations and extreme sores and weight-loss, food supply problems, encountered Oceanic White Tip sharks and were nearly run down by a cargo ship.

But sighting land provided the boost the injured, dehydrated and gaunt duo needed.

John said: "There were hundreds of people lined up on the marina.

"Jamie wanted a chair and I wanted stillness and to see family and friends and everyone. It was amazing.

"I hoisted the Welsh flag and lit a flare. The elation was out of this world.

"People think I've been on a jolly, but it went from an adventure to a survival situation."

To sponsor Team Atlantic Dash, visit www.atlanticdash.com and click on donate.

John is available to give talks to groups, schools and other organisations and further fundraising will also involve more Tesco and Morrisons treadmill runs.

Atlantic Dash wristbands are available from Marco's Café, Barry Island.