CALM conditions are often sought after in many sports, but not in the world of sailing.

A group of Herefordshire fundraisers found out just that last month when they took on Plymouth’s unique nautical marathon known as The Eddystone Pursuit, which attracts hundreds of sailors every year.

The four friends led by 58-year-old skipper Keith Pringle, from Ledbury, had hoped to complete their first marathon in under five hours, but unexpectedly calm conditions meant that their 37-foot Dream Catcher yacht finally finished after a gruelling seven-and-a-half hours.

The novice crew were sailing together for the first time to raise money for The Children’s Society’s Committee in Ledbury.

Pringle said: “With an average of four to six knots of true wind, it was a very long, hot day!

"But we were pleased to finish and were ranked 32 out of 68 – not bad considering the very difficult sailing conditions! The most important part was winning £240 for The Children’s Society, which tipped our fundraising total over £1,600.

"As parents, all four of us want to support our kids, but we know the vital importance of helping those less fortunate than we are. The Children’s Society does brilliant work, and every penny raised will help support children with really challenging lives. We will be back next year to raise even more money for the cause!”

The Children’s Society works directly with thousands of vulnerable children and young people across a variety of projects, including youth-at-risk services, support for young refugees, and help for young people who run away from home.