A West Oxfordshire rower has battled five-foot waves and force five winds to raise £12,000 by rowing the English Channel.

Chris Baxter, 32, of Churchill, and three friends managed the mammoth task last Saturday and raised the cash for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The event was almost cancelled due to the terrible weather but it cleared at 5am and the crew set out across the water. It took them a total of 6hrs 3mins to row the stretch, but at times the tides were so powerful that they were rowing hard but travelling backwards.

Mr Baxter said: “All the training we had done was in calm water so it was quite a shock when we got out and it was a lot choppier than we thought it would be.

“As we approached France it got very stormy and the undercurrents were dragging us backwards. It was pretty uncomfortable and it was pretty soul-destroying.

“But when we could make out the houses on the French coast we got a big adrenaline boost.”

He added: “We are over the moon to have raised almost £12,000. Our original target was £5,000 and, having toured Marie Curie Hospice, we are proud to have done it and raise that sort of money.”