A CHARITY 50-mile canoe down the River Severn smashed its £2,000 target, raising a massive £6,000 for the Wyre Forest fundraising committee of Cancer Research UK.

Many of the 40-strong team of canoeists and supporters from The Nags Charity Barbarians, led by Stourport High School maths teacher Neil Evans, had never canoed before.

The flotilla was made up of several canoes and kayaks plus two bell-boats supplied by Fladbury Paddle Club and was watched closely by an expert canoeist and support boats.

The challenge included carrying the canoe a mile through Worcester city centre and a small group of non-swimmers walked the distance along the Severn Way – carrying a canoe all the way.

Several rowing, rugby and cricket clubs helped the team with offers of showers, barbecues, launch steps and camp sites whilst members of the public filled their buckets as they passed by.

Challenges along the way included a thunderstorm which threatened to delay the team at Holt Fleet, but their efforts were greeted by a superb rainbow shortly before reaching Tewkesbury.

Mr Evans said: “Every single person who took part, supported or helped should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.

“We are a close family linked through our own personal stories of experience with this disease and the camaraderie is simply incredible.”

Canoeist Stephen Griffin, from Stourport, added: “I'm already missing the camaraderie, constant encouragement and support of the team. What I didn't think I'd miss was that canoe and the river - but I do.”

The Nags, set up in 2012 by Mr Evans, from Bewdley, and a few ex-rugby players, now has 500 members who have now raised almost £40,000 for the cancer charity. Previous fundraisers include charity rugby games and a 30-mile narrowboat pull.

They plan to play Droitwich RFC in May 2018 when they hope to push the total raised over the £50,000 milestone.

Anyone interested in joining the group should visit its Facebook page called The Nags Charity Barbarians and donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/nags50.