Juniors push the boat out

Brothers James and Henry Roberts, of Devizes Canoe Club, set off on Good Friday

Brothers James and Henry Roberts, of Devizes Canoe Club, set off on Good Friday

First published in News

YOUNG canoeists from the local area covered themselves in glory in the Devizes to Westminster canoe race at the weekend by defying freezing weather to record excellent times.

First off early on Friday morning were the Endeavour class crews, all aiming to complete the course in four days.

In the morning’s freezing conditions they found themselves acting as ice-breakers for the field and frequently found the ice so tough to break they simply had to get out of the water and carry their boats around it.

Henry Roberts, a 16-year-old Devizes Canoe Club member from West Overton, near Marlborough, who took part with his 22-year-old RAF pilot officer brother James, said the stretch to All Cannings and also around Honeystreet was particularly bad.

He estimated they had to portage their boat for 11 miles more than anticipated.

“It was painful, but it made the eventual achievement all worthwhile,” said Henry.

He and his brother were among the seven Devizes Canoe Club crews in the race, along with seven from Dauntsey’s School, and nine from Marlborough College, who all completed the course.

Conor Henley and Ali Little were first home for Devizes Canoe Club, finishing fourth overall in the junior doubles in 17 hours, 35 minutes and 40 seconds.

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Harry, Fred and Ruby Holt, from Potterne Wick, became the first triplets to take part in and complete the annual race.

Harry and Fred, paddling under Devizes Canoe Club colours, finished 40th in 22:27:00, while their sister, crewing with Ruth Wilson for Dauntsey’s, was just two places behind in 22:43:45.

Hugo Mayes, son of Roundway councillor Laura Mayes, was paddling with Barney Bennett. They finished in a respectable 23:46:10, but it was the amount of sponsorship Hugo had raised for charity that was more important.

Coun Mayes said: “The boys are feeling very relieved that it is all over, but pleased that it went so well. Hugo has raised more than £3,000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.”

Hugo chose the charity because his godmother’s children suffer Type 1 diabetes.

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