TWO former professional rugby players have raised thousands of pounds for two charities by organising a month-long rowing event.

Sam Blythe, 37, and Shane Kingsland, 27, who both played for Exeter Chiefs, started rowing on New Year's Day for the event, called Janurow.

They rowed every day until the end of the month to hit their personal target of a million metres (1,000km) each.

They also recruited around 40 members of the public - with a total of 10.1 million metres (10,000km) rowed by those taking part.

The amount raised was £8,000, which was shared between global children's charity Plan UK and Dream-A-Way, which helps people with physical and learning disabilities in Devon, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles.

Father-of-five Sam says it was tricky fitting in hours of rowing each day around his job and family life, but he enjoyed the challenge.

“Some days were harder than others but I enjoyed finishing and knowing I had helped others. It was satisfying personally, but more so to see so many others achieve so many metres and enjoy rowing,” he says.

Sam and Shane have already been back on the rowing machines, doing a session to raise cash for Sport Relief.

They are hoping Janurow will continue next year - and grow to become a regular event.