ONE OF Hampshire's oldest sports clubs is celebrating the success of a fundraising campaign launched after a "devastating" break-in.

Burglars broke into the new headquarters of Lymington Amateur Rowing Club (LARC) and made off with £400, which had been raised towards the cost of much-needed equipment.

As reported in the Daily Echo, members set out to replace the stolen cash and secure the rest of the money needed.

Now the club has announced that its £1,500 target was smashed in less than a week after help poured in from across the New Forest.

Many of the donations were made by past and present members of the club, which was established in 1881.

New Forest Post:

The appeal reached its target after £300 was received from New Milton Round Table, which praised the junior members who raised the £400 and said it wanted to show them "there are still some good people out there."

One of the two people who launched the online appeal was Caroline Beaumont.

She said: "We’re absolutely overjoyed with the support we’ve had from far and wide. This puts the club’s fundraising firmly back on track and we’re now planning an event to thank people in person and show them how their donations will make a difference."

Thieves smashed their way into the recently- completed clubhouse at Lymington Shores just two days before the start of the juniors’ new season.

Caroline and fellow member Kirsty Melin - who described the break-in as "just devastating" - decided to start a crowdfunding campaign.

A statement on their GoFundMe page said: "We’ve been around for over 125 years and have a thriving junior squad with 20 local 13-17-year-olds who meet every week, whatever the weather.

New Forest Post:

"Over the summer they raised around £400 towards new equipment.

"We felt sick to have to tell them their hard-earned cash had been stolen in a break-in. It would mean a lot if you could help them get their fundraising back on track.

"For us it's about more than winning races. Rowing builds skills like teamwork, resilience and determination.

"We have a waiting list for new rowers but we need more equipment to get them afloat. The money our juniors worked so hard to raise was going towards a set of sculling blades (oars), which will enable us to get more rowers out on the water at the same time."

The new clubhouse was opened earlier this year by Olympic gold medalist Heather Stanning.