A Romford father has celebrated the achievement of his son who was part of a team which completed an endurance rowing challenge in a record-breaking time.

Stephen Brooker, 61, who has lived in Gidea Park since 2004, praised his son Alex for rowing 2,800 miles from California to Hawaii in a team of four, finishing first and setting a world record.

Alex celebrated the world record awarded by World's Toughest Row with teammates Lorenz Gammeter, Alex Gammeter and Richard Henderson.

Atlantic Campaigns on behalf of the extreme sports competition confirmed the record was achieved on July 12, after Alex's crew rowed for 29 days.

Stephen said he and his wife were initially apprehensive when Alex, 32, raised the idea and subsequently kept a close eye on his progress.

"You wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, the first thing you do is you look at your phone for an update.

"It's hard to put into words really because it's such an achievement," he said.

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World's Toughest Row, a series of endurance races, was won by Alex's crew out of 14 teams, Stephen said.

Alex previously attended Campion School in Hornchurch for sixth form where he played rugby and moved out of the family's Gidea Park home around ten years ago.

Stephen said it had meant a lot to provide some proper food on his return.

“They were very tired, blisters, after eating pre-packed food for almost 30 days, so we gave them a nice big meal afterwards," he said.

He added his son had some alarming moments, one of which was an encounter with a military ship.

“During the row they encountered a US Navy vessel which sent a helicopter over to find out what was going on.

“The captain of the ship radioed them to find out what was going on and then wished them luck."

Stephen added that Alex encountered plenty of wildlife, including whales and dolphins, but noticed growing water pollution.

“They did encounter quite a bit of debris, including pollution, which is the saddest part when you expect to see loads of wildlife," he said.

But having travelled to Hawaii to celebrate Alex's world record, Stephen said he was just happy his son was safe and sound.