A SOUTHAMPTON stroke charity has been handed a boost after five teams from ABP Southampton took on a gruelling 125-mile canoe race.

Raising money for Different Strokes Southampton, ABP’s charity of the year, the took on the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, which has been held annually over the Easter weekend since 1948.

Each year up to half the entrants who attempt the challenge do not complete the course and this year the soaring temperatures throughout the weekend made the race particularly exhausting.

Despite the relentless heat, two boats out of the five from Team Spirit managed to cross the finish line just downstream of Westminster Bridge, opposite the Houses of Parliament in London.

Team leader and Patrol launch marine officer Andrew Coulson said: “We knew this was never going to be an easy challenge, so to have two boats make it to Westminster and another two make it to around the 100-mile mark is testament to the months of training the team have put in.

“Everyone gave their all and pushed themselves to their mental and physical limits. For this reason, I am very proud of the whole team. The weekend has been a roaring success for all of ABP Team Spirit and we want to thank everybody who has supported us through this memorable journey.

“A heartfelt thank you to all our generous sponsors who have supported us with fundraising for Different Strokes Southampton. The grand total is yet to be announced but we are very close to raising our target of £10,000.”

Port director Alastair Welch added: “This is the sixth year we’ve had a team from ABP Southampton take part in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race and I’m extremely proud of the hard work and commitment shown.”