CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the success of a 24-hour fundraising event that has netted more than £9,000 for the Hythe Ferry.

Ashleigh Mutimear and her supporters walked up and down the 700-yard Hythe Pier to raise vital cash for the ferry, which has been hit by the Covid crisis.

The event was accompanied by a family fun day at the nearby Lord Nelson pub, followed by an open day on the pier itself.

Visitors to the jetty were joined by children's author Simon Chadwick, of Dibden Purlieu, who signed copies of his new book, A Seal Swam In From The Sea, which has been published in aid of the Save the Ferry campaign.

Organisers say the fundraising weekend has netted at least £9,500.

It means a Crowdfunder appeal launched by Ashleigh Mutimear earlier this year has now collected more than £24,000 - 40% of its £60,000 target.

Ashleigh and her team walked more than 100 lengths of the pier, notching up a total of 45 miles.

Writing on social media shortly after completing the marathon event she said: "What a weekend we had - I was absolutely overwhelmed.

"I am achy and tired but still in total shock that we managed to complete such a crazy challenge. I will probably eat my weight in chocolate to recover."

"Thank you to those of that took the time to come and see us and show your support.

"I will always be grateful to you for believing in me. I’m just a girl who had a dream and that dream was to #savethehytheferry."

The service between Hythe Pier and Town Quay, Southampton, is facing a cash crisis caused by the pandemic, which has resulted in a huge fall in passenger numbers.

The vessel, which has been out of action since before Christmas, is currently undergoing its annual refit.

Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and Southampton City Council have given grants totalling £22,000, but more money is needed.

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