A SAILOR made a surprise appearance for his wife after months away at sea.
Sean Bell spent more than seven months serving on the Royal Navy warship HMS Ocean including military action against Libya.
After docking in Plymouth last Friday, he surprised his new Thai wife Nuchnapa by suddenly appearing in front of her in a Hartlepool restaurant.
Delighted Nuchnapa, who had not seen Sean since September, was not expecting him home until the following day.
But while talking to her on the phone he suddenly appeared behind her in Baan Thai, in Church Street.
Sean, 33, was one of the stars of an internet video of HMS Ocean crew miming to Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit All I want for Christmas.
The fun video made headlines around the world and has been viewed more than three million times on YouTube –including by Mariah herself.
Sean, a chief petty officer, said: “It’s just great to be home. I’m looking forward to putting my feet up and chilling out and just enjoying a big family Christmas.”
Sean hid upstairs in the restaurant while he spoke to Nuchnapa who was there with a dozen of his family and friends.
He said: “She asked me where I was and I said I had gone for a few drinks with the crew.
“Then I started walking down the stairs and said ‘you need to look behind you.’
“She was just completely shocked.”
Nuchnapa, also 33, said: “I was really happy. I have been smiling ever since.”
Sean, who has served with the Royal Navy for 14 years, met Nuchnapa on holiday in Thailand in August 2009.
The couple stayed in constant touch through the internet until Sean returned to Thailand in December and they married in January.
During leave in August, Sean brought Nuchnapa home to Hartlepool where she has been embraced by his family.
But within weeks he was back at sea.
Sean expected the exercise to last just seven and a half weeks, but it turned into seven and a half months when the ship was diverted to Libya and then Suez.
Sean, of the Fens, will say an emotional goodbye to his family when he returns to duty in early January.
But for now he is enjoying his best Christmas for years.