SEAFARERS swapped the high seas for cycles yesterday as about 200 bikers took part in a long distance charity ride.

The Tour Pour La Mer is an annual event that raises money for the Mission To Seafarers.

The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, was on hand to start the 100-mile event on a fresh September morning. Organisers were hoping to beat last year's total of £250,000 to go to helping seamen in countries across the globe.

An ocean of riders descended on Palmerston Park in the city centre to start the ride that took until about 4pm to complete. Cyclists from across the country enjoyed pushing the pedals as far north as Broughton in the Test Valley before taking in the picturesque New Forest.

The money raised will go to centres in Bangkok, Dubai and Mombasa as well as the UK, including Southampton.

Chaplains are on hand in some 230 ports to provide support for seamen in their time of need.

The Mission To Seafarers offer help in times of emergency, bereavement or a friendly face for those who may be left in a foreign country thousands of miles from home.