THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised for charity in memory of sailors lost at sea on a Southampton yacht.

The Cheeki Rafiki went missing in the Atlantic last month and its four-man crew, including 22-year-old James Male, pictured, of Romsey.

Now friends of the boat’s 21-year-old skipper, Andrew Bridge, have raised £20,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in just 24 hours after setting off on a charity sail.

Nicky Evans, Roger Swift and Kate Dawes were due to take part in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in August on the Cheeki Rafiki with Andrew.

Ms Evans was also the person who set up a petition to get the US Coastguard to resume the search for the crew that was signed by 243,095 people, galvanising public support for the missing men.

Roger Swift, a retired police officer from Kent, said today: “It will be a bittersweet occasion for us. Even just getting together to train for the first time next weekend will be bittersweet. Cheeki Rafiki should have been back in her home port of Southampton and we should have been out training on her with Andy.”

The Cheeki Rafiki also carried Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, both from Somerset.

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