A FERNDOWN man has returned home after helping a quadriplegic yachtsman sail his dingy into the history books.

Mike Golden was among the support team backing Geoff Holt, who has become the only disabled person in history to sail single-handedly around the UK, raising the profile of Royal Yachting Association Sailability and disabled sailing in the UK in the process.

Paralysed from the waist down, former professional yachtsman Geoff set himself the Personal Everest Challenge, to sail 1,600 miles around Great Britain.

It required complex logistical efforts from a shore-based support team and an on-water support team who followed Geoff in his record-breaking attempt.

The trip was broken down into individual days, each of about eight hours of sailing.

Mike was among the team to help Geoff create the record, which started on March 21 and was launched by HRH the Princess Royal and ended yesterday at Southampton.

Mike was attached to the rowing crew, and his job was to drive one of the vehicles in support as Geoff made progress from place to place, to help prepare Geoff when he went out and to be available if needed when Geoff got back.

Mike said: "It has been brilliant. We had an excellent team. We have all pulled together. It has been extraordinary, when you think our living quarters was a camper van and there were four of us living there for quite a long time!"

Dad of two Mike said he had spotted Geoff at the Southampton Boat Show, with a sign that said "volunteers required".

Before that, Mike was a volunteer helper at New Forest Sailability Club, a club to help disabled people to sail, but he was not a sailor.

In addition to practical help, as a member of Southern Union Chorus, he put his other talent of singing to good use, as part of the choir who sang before the start of the attempt, and who were set to sing again to mark the end of the challenge.

Mike, 67, a retired training officer for a dry-cleaning firm, said he had personally enjoyed a lot of the scenery including seeing puffins, basking sharks and dolphins.