Devizes Canoe Club paddled to glory in the annual race on the canal from the town to London over Easter.

Club members Will Scaplehorn and Jamie Lovell won the junior boys doubles category in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race. The 16-year-olds finished the race in a combined total of 16 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds.

Zoe Palmer and Edie Noble, also from the Devizes club, won the junior girls category with a time of 19 hours, 26 minutes and 36 seconds.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Zoe Palmer and Edie Noble from Devizes Canoe Club. Photo: Nicki Douglas-Lee.Zoe Palmer and Edie Noble from Devizes Canoe Club. Photo: Nicki Douglas-Lee.

There was also a fund-raising triumph for Dauntsey’s schoolgirls Scout Johnstone and her partner Phoebe Parry, who completed the race in 22 hours, 58 minutes and 33 seconds.

Scout was paddling to raise money for the Women’s Aid Foundation of England in memory of her friend Ellie Gould, the Calne girl who was just 17 when she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2019.

Before the race Scout set herself a fund-raising target of £250 – but when it was over she had raised £4,762.

In the end the first-placed team was Devizes Canoe Club, with Churcher’s College and Kimbolton School taking second and third places.

Reeve Stevens, from Market Lavington and also of the Devizes Canoe Club, came ninth in the senior singles, with a time of 18 hours, 26 minutes and 38 seconds, and club colleague Charlie Mayo came in at 21st place in the same category with a time of 20 hours, 39 minutes and 34 seconds.

In all, 188 boats and 332 competitors took part in this year’s 108-mile and 77 portage race in glorious April weather which saw them paddling in temperatures reaching 22 degrees. Normally the race is 125 miles long, but this year’s race ended at Teddington at the Thames Young Mariners centre because the traditional finish line, on the Westminster banks of St Thomas’s Hospital, is out of bounds as the hospital remains in use as a Covid vaccination facility.

James Treadgold, Race Director for 2022, said: “After two years’ absence we were delighted to be back, with so many crews keen to complete the course. The competition across all the classes was intense, particularly in the senior doubles and we all watched the live tracking through the night with intense interest. The Devizes to Westminster race is back and we much look forward to 2023 when we have every hope the finish will return to Westminster.”