I’m a real life James Bond who’s tackled terrorists around the world… but here’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced

I’m a real life James Bond who’s tackled terrorists around the world… but here’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced

Updated: 25 days, 22 hours, 11 minutes, 2 seconds ago

A REAL-life James Bond has taken on his toughest challenge to raise hundreds of thousands for charity.

Mike Bates, 43, is a former marine and counter-terrorism intelligence officer, but has now turned his hand to something quite different to thank the hospital that saved his son's life when he was born.


Mike Bates, 43, is a former marine and counter-terror intelligence officer

Credit: Mike Bates


He previously served in Afghanistan, hunting Osama Bin Laden, as well as in Iraq and Northern Ireland

Credit: Mike Bates

Mike, from Leeds, Yorkshire, spent 46 days in a solo boat, rowing solo across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Antigua, finishing first in his category and raising £170,000 in the process.

He has already donated £65,000 to charity and intends to use the money to buy six neo-natal monitoring devices for Leeds Children's hospital after the team there saved his son Gabe from post-natal meningitis in 2011.

The former soldier told The Sun Online: "It was brutal... it was worse than the commando course.

"There was huge weather around Christmas and New Year... in the final 48 hours I spent 22 hours rowing non-stop into a 20-knot headwind.

"I've always wanted to repay that debt [to the hospital]. I'm extremely proud of what I've achieved."

He added: "I wanted to serve my community."

"The NHS don't buy their equipment - charities buy it."

Mike joined the Royal Marines in 2000 and was in training when 9/11 happened.

He was among the first British troops in Afghanistan in 2002, where his unit was involved in the search for notorious Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

He went on to serve in Iraq in 2003 and Northern Ireland in 2004 before leaving the Army after an illness.

However, Mike found that his love for "serving my country" remained and joined the Ministry of Defence, working as a human intelligence specialist and counter-terror and covert operations leader.

He added that his role involved "directly gathering evidence against the highest profile targets" and handling agents at the top level of the intelligence field.

Operations already in the public eye that Mike was involved in include Operation Overt, which prevented planned plane bombings in 2006, and Operation Pathway, which stopped bombings in New York in 2009.

The former saw authorities snare London-born bombmaker Abdulla Ahmed Ali, who learned how to make explosives in Pakistan at the same time as the 7/7 bombers were there, according to the BBC.

Mike left the intelligence service in 2020 to begin his charity work.

He said: "I remain a patriot and proud of my career.

"We saved a lot of lives, no doubt about it."

As for the future, Mike is in the early stages of planning more charity events, as well as writing an autobiography.

He also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he took up while in the Army, and runs his own jiu jitsu gym in Leeds.


He completed a solo row across the Atlantic to raise money for charity

Credit: Atlantic Campaigns / Penny Bird


He has already donated thousands to the hospital that saved his son from post-natal meningitis

Credit: Mike Bates