PEOPLE seeking a new sport were welcomed to Whitemere on Sunday for the annual Shropshire Sailing Club open day.

A short drive out of Ellesmere, Whitemere is the home of the sailing club which has more than 400 members.

Experienced club sailors were on hand to show newcomers the ropes as many of them took to the water in a boat for the first time.

The open day went ahead alongside the Push The Boat Out initiative ran by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), which aims to bring more people into sailing.

Chris Cater of Shropshire Sailing Club, was pleased to see a high level of interest once again this year.

"This is usually our biggest event of the year and it tends to attract a lot of new members," he said.

"It's a good opportunity to show people what training courses and other services we offer.

"The event is quite weather reliant, so we're quite lucky it has been nice to us this weekend.

"Last year we had just short of 200 visitors and took more than 80 people sailing for their first time ever which was exciting, we'll hopefully get more of the same as the day goes on."

The club has 340 individual members, with around 140 family groups signed up as members, but Chris insists the club are always welcoming new members o all ages.

"People seem to have a pre-conception about sailing that it's quite expensive and a bit elitist - but that's absolutely not the case.

"Once you have a sailing boat, the cost from there on in is little to nothing.

"We have a lot of youth members, I think the figure stands at around 60, which is certainly a healthy number.

"I think it's a great sense of achievement and freedom [to sail].

"When you get out onto the water and the boat's doing what you want it to do, it's a great feeling - it's also really relaxing.

"When you're out on the water you can just slow down and take in everything around you.

"There's something for everyone - for example, there's the competitive side. If you want to get involved in racing then we have the racing to take care of that.

"With being a training centre as well, we can usually get people who have never sailed before out onto the water over the course of a weekend, so I think that's a big help."