A firefighter and a soldier from Melton have helped break a world record by playing in the longest ever continuous rugby match.
James Marman and Craig Simpson, who both play for Melton Mowbray RFC, helped raise nearly £20,000 for charity by taking part in the gruelling game which lasted 29 hours and 15 minutes.
Some players suffered badly in the heat on Saturday and medical staff had to be consulted to allow the challenge to keep going, at Sixways Stadium, the home of Worcester Warriors RFC.
But at 2.24pm there was a huge roar as spectators were informed that the teams had smashed the old mark of 28 hours and 23 minutes.
James (30), a former pupil at The Grove School, Long Field Academy and King Edward VII School, told the Melton Times: “There was a big cheer when they said we had beaten the record and it was a great feeling to do it.
“The heat made it tough on Saturday and some players were suffering from heat exhaustion but we kept going.
“I really suffered around midnight on the Friday night - I just didn’t want go any further but I managed to keep going because it was for two great causes.”
One of the beneficiaries was the Fire Fighters Charity, which supports injured and traumatised crew members and their families, with James raising more than £800 out of the £5,000 generated for it by his team.
The opposition squad, which included Craig - an RAVC serviceman - raised £12,000 for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports children who have lost a parent serving in the British armed forces.
James, who was cheered on by wife Hannah, five-year-old son Samuel and mum Jane Adams, estimates he was on the field for 23 hours and he managed just 40 minutes sleep during the time he was off the field, with players rotating throughout the challenge.
He scored 14 tries and converted 12 of them but suffered badly from blisters on his feet. One of the players, who was wearing a tracker, covered a remarkable 84km during the match, which started on Friday morning.
James, who crews for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “It was absolutely freezing during the night. I was lucky to be playing in the front row because we kept warm in the scrums. Some of the backs kept wanting to get in the scrums for some warmth.”
You might think James would want to stay away from rugby for a while but he will be back on the field at the weekend for the Liam Tasker memorial match.