THE Worcester Canoe Club have confirmed the canoeist who died during the Devizes to Westminster marathon was a member of their group.

In a statement to the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald the chairman of the club Julian Harris said: "I can confirm the canoeist involved was a member of our club.

"We are all shocked at this sudden and tragic loss.

"I am afraid we don't  want to make any further comment at the moment."

The name and age of the canoiest has yet to be released. He died on the River Thames on Monday, April 22, in the morning as the race was coming to an end. His body was recovered from the river by race organisers and taken to the bank by City Hall where the London Ambulance Service took the body to hospital.

It was the first known death in the 71 year history of the event in which hundreds of canoeists paddle from Wilthshire to London over the bank holiday weekend along the canals and rivers finishing in Westminster.

Race directors said: "We are co-operating with the relevant authorities in investigating the incident fully."

They said their, "thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the paddler".

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch spokesperson said: "The Marine Accident Investigation Branch was notified on Monday about the tragic loss of a canoeist during an endurance event on the River Thames.

"We conducted an initial assessment of the case and decided not to undertake a safety investigation."

However it will lead to a question mark over the future safety of the race as it is thought to be one of the world's toughest endurance challenges with the first 52 miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal and the next 55 miles are on the River Thames.