Welcome home Di! Atlantic rower and record breaker celebrates safe return
Atlantic rower and record breaker Di Carrington was expecting a cup of tea and a warm welcome home from her neighbour when she arrived home.
What she didn't expect were three big billboards at the entrance to the village of Pontesbury, bunting and balloons and dozens of well wishers outside her house.
The hero's welcome from villagers, who followed every day of Di's epic adventure, left the 62-year-old flabbergasted and absolutely thrilled.
Beaming with delight she and husband, Brian, who flew to Antigua to see her and her two fellow crew members, Sharon Magrath and Elaine Theaker, finish their Atlantic race, emerged from their car to cheers, hugs and handshakes.
Looking relaxed and tanned she chatted to everyone, answering questions about the adventure.
"I had no idea that this was happening, it's wonderful," she said.
"We had a telephone call from our neighbour, Ann, to ask if our plane had landed as she would get the kettle on."
Ann Griffiths, one of a small committee that organised the welcome home, said: "I gave Di a hug, and burst into tears. When she first said she was going to do this, I didn't want her to go, now we are so proud of her."
The rower, who set three world records on the 60 day adventure, showed well-wishers her blistered hands and said she had suffered badly from salt sores.
"I have only just got my land legs back. My legs kept wobbling underneath me."
She revealed she had lost 11 kilos, just under two stone, and said the thing she had missed the most was sleep.
Di also related how some of the worst waves, 40 feet high, had caused the boat to capsize not once, but twice, in the 24 hours before the end of the race.
"The second time the water rushed in everywhere and damaged our satellite system. Thankfully we were 24 hours from the end," she said.
Children from the local primary school were among those who turned out to see the local celebrity who had given a talk in an assembly before she left.
Luke Sumner 8, Evan Wareing, 8 and Isaac Wareing, 10, said the rower was 'amazing' and said they wanted to do their own challenge in the future.
Di said: "I really hope that I have inspired people to go out and do something. I had never rowed before we began the challenge. If you set your mind to something, you can do it."
Husband, Brian, said he had been through a range of emotions during the challenge.
"Sometimes the sheer enormity of what she was doing would hit you. The tracker on the boat would update every four hours and I would say that there were not many of those updates that I didn't watch coming in."