A trio of friends covered the 250-mile journey in four days

Lisa, Ingrid and Mary meeting a lifeguard team at Croyde on their arrival. Picture: Phil HillLisa, Ingrid and Mary meeting a lifeguard team at Croyde on their arrival. Picture: Phil Hill

A woman has cycled 250 miles from London to Croyde to personally thank the RNLI lifeguards who saved her life.

Mary Harkin and her friends Lisa Forrest and Ingrid Hass spent four days making the journey from Richmond to Croyde, and have raised more than £4,000 for North Devon RNLI in the process.

It comes a year after Mary was saved by RNLI lifeguards Freddie Hedger, Sean Deasy and Jack Middleton while on holiday in the village.

The group were on holiday at Surfer's Paradise last August when Mary was dragged from Croyde beach's patrolled zone and into the bay by a rip current.

Mary, Ingrid and Lisa arrive at Croyde. Picture: Mary HarkinMary, Ingrid and Lisa arrive at Croyde. Picture: Mary Harkin

With choppy conditions and two-metre high waves, Mary was unable to paddle back, and eventually lost her body board and fell unconscious.

She was spotted by Freddie during a routine water patrol, and the lifeguard was able to save her with the assistance of Sean and Jack.

Although her friends are keen cyclists, Mary said she hadn't cycled since she was a small girl before deciding to take on the challenge.

Mary said: "Last summer, they put their lives on the line for me and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here today.

Mary Harkin and her two friends, Lisa Forrest and Ingrid Hass.Mary Harkin and her two friends, Lisa Forrest and Ingrid Hass.

"The lifeguards should get the recognition and support they deserve for the work they do.

"It was for this reason that myself, Ingrid and Lisa decided to fundraise for the team, cycling over 250 miles to Devon from our homes in London to show our gratitude."

The trio have raised more than £4,000 so far, and donations can still be made via their fund raising page.

RNLI area lifesaving manager Phil Hill said: "The lifeguard team were happy to see Mary go home safe and well, but for her, Lisa and Ingrid to think so highly of our service that they would commit this much time and effort is incredible.

"The group arrived at the beach on Friday and had a lovely chat with the lifeguards involved in the rescue on Saturday.

"It was a real pleasure to see them all again looking so fit and well."