AN ARMY sergeant from Dursley has entered the Guinness World Records Book after rowing non-stop around Britain.

Sgt Jim Bastin, 35, and his three fellow oarsmen became the first ever people to row around mainland Britain non-stop when they arrived back on London earlier this month.

The crew completed the 2,000 mile GB Row Challenge in a time of 26 days, 21 hours and 14 minutes.

Sgt Bastin said: "It was a great relief to finish and a wonderful feeling. We all had a massive sense of achievement."

Alongside fellow Grenadier Guardsmen Lt William de Laszlo and Lt Ben Jesty and experienced rower Will Turnage, Sgt Bastin set out from London last month.

The crew rowed around Britain in a clockwise direction, heading along the English Channel, Irish Sea, around Scotland and finally the North Sea.

During the mammoth journey they encountered freak storms, gale force winds and were almost capsized by a colossal wave that broke two oars - although they were carrying replacements.

The oarsmen took turns to row in pairs in three-hour shifts and in two-hour shifts during the night.

"I didn't sleep for more than two and a half hours at a time during the whole four weeks," said Sgt Bastin.

The Dursley man was the only member of the crew who was not an experienced rower but he said he managed to hold his own.

He added: "Although the other three were experienced rowers, it didn't make much of a different on the physical side.

"It was more the technical side. It just seems easy to row but it was hard to get a rhythm going."

The journey was almost as long as an Atlantic crossing and, according to the Ocean Rowing Society, is more dangerous.

The four survived on army rations and desalinated sea water during their record breaking journey, from which they hope to raise £1million for The Outward Bound Trust and the Bud Flanagan Fund for leukaemia research.

Patron of the Outward Bound Trust, the Duke of Edinburgh, said: "The circumnavigation of Britain by four oarsmen is a remarkable achievement. It required exceptional courage, determination and teamwork."

Donations can be made to The Outward Bound Trust or the Bud Flanagan Fund for leukaemia research by calling 01732 520111.