CANOEING duo Stuart Bell and Steve Bush have set a new local record for the Devizes to Westminster race despite Mr Bush having to battle Weil's disease.

The disease, which is carried in rats' urine, can lead to kidney failure and even death.

The pair, who are both members of Devizes Canoe Club, set a new club record when they completed the 125-mile course in 20hrs, 49mins, 59 seconds.

Mr Bell, 44, of Hartmoor Close, Devizes said: "We trained very hard for the race and were pleased with the time. But back in January Steve developed weils disease and we were worried if he would recover in time to put in the work we needed.

"Weil's disease is a bit of an occupational hazard when you are canoeing because you are in contact with the water so much. But it can be very nasty. Steve was being sick all the time and was quite weak for a while."

Mr Bell, an electrician, and Mr Bush a carpenter have both competed in the event before but still found the going tough as there was a head wind on the canal and no tidal flow to help them on The Thames.

Mr Bell paid tribute to all the Devizes Canoe Club members who took part. The club had seven teams in the senior doubles event, four junior crews, two single scullers and one team in the senior endeavour class.

Mr Bell said: "It is a great club and everyone supports each other."