After 46 days, 6 hours, and 10 minutes at sea, Mike Bates has completed the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, rowing 3,000 solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite facing the elements along the way, Mike’s determination spurred him on, and he was the first solo rower to arrive in Antigua.

42-year-old Mike, from Roundhay, has raised over £170,000 for Leeds Hospitals Charity which will help benefit some of Leeds Children’s Hospitals smallest patients.

Some of the funds Mike has raised will help poorly children on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, where his son Gabe was cared for after contracting meningitis. Gabe was born 11 weeks premature, weighing just three pounds, in February 2011.

Read More: Leeds dad starts single handed Atlantic row to raise funds for hospital who saved his baby son’s life

Amy Allen, Ward Manager on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit said:

“We’ve all been following Mike closely on his journey and have been amazed by his fundraising efforts. It’s thanks to inspirational fundraisers like him, that Leeds Hospitals Charity can fund projects to improve the hospital experience for our patients and help make hospital a little brighter for some of the sickest children and their families.”

Gabe made a full recovery and has grown into a happy, strong little boy, however, his father kept the trauma of his baby son’s almost fatal illness bottled up and now, over 10 years later, Mike Bates found a way to thank the hospital that saved Gabe’s life.

After completing his challenge, Mike told us:

“None of the training I did could have prepared me for the reality of what it’s like alone at sea, not only battling the elements but also my own thoughts. At times, I struggled both physically and mentally, but I powered on through thanks to messages of support from friends and family which helped me remember why I put myself through this challenge.

I am eternally grateful to Leeds Children’s Hospital and the care they have provided for my son and all children they look after. This challenge was a way for me to show my support and thanks that pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Read More: Leeds Children's Hospital

Paul Watkins, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Hospitals Charity said:

“Mike has put his all into fundraising to help make a difference at our hospitals in Leeds, dedicating three years of his life to training for a challenge that most of us couldn’t imagine facing. All of us at Leeds Hospitals Charity have been closely following Mike’s progress and have been stunned and inspired by his determination in the face of the many barriers he faced along the way. Mike really has gone above and beyond, and his fundraising will have a lasting impact on NHS staff, patients and families.”

Donate to Mike's fundraising page here