CANOE club members desperate to save their group have secured the support of their MP as their campaign gathers pace.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran has backed Kingfisher Canoe Club as a petition to put pressure on Vale of White Horse District Council to rent it land for a new permanent base reaches 1,300 signatures.

The club– and its youth division Pathfinders – packed up and left its home of 25 years in October.

It came more than 18 months after the club was served an eviction notice by the Army Rowing Club, with which it shared a Wilsham Road site.

The club had identified a 'perfect' new base in the northern corner of Rye Meadow, but its attempt to move there collapsed, with coaches warning the group will die unless it finds a new home by spring.

Planning permission for the Rye Meadow site, which is owned by South Oxfordshire District Council but administered by Vale of White Horse District Council, was approved in October 2016.

But in April the club was told that it would no longer be possible, legally, for the authority to provide a lease for the site.

Ms Moran, who met with club members at the Rye Meadow site on Friday, said: "I think what they do is amazing, we have this fantastic river that we don't make as much use of as we could.

"I don't feel it is unreasonable what the club are asking and I would urge the council to at least communicate more with the group so it can be a positive relationship."

Last month concerned club members set up a petition to urge the authority to think again, gaining hundreds of signatures within days and quickly passing the 500 signature requirement to automatically trigger a council debate.

David Surman, 68, youth development officer at the club said: "Since we lost Wilsham Road we have been lobbying hard to get the council to reconsider its position and have had independent legal advice that the challenges to the application are not insurmountable."

He added the support for the petition showed just how valued the group was locally.

Kingfisher Canoe Club has been operating for more than 40 years in Abingdon but after several stays of execution club members were forced to move the 60 canoes they had previously kept at Wilsham Road at the end of October, some of which are now stored more than 30 miles away.

Mr Surman said it was 'critical' that a new home for the club was found before outdoor sessions started next year or a 'generation of members would be lost', putting the future of the club at risk.

The club has already lost a Sport England grant worth £31,000, as a condition of the cash was that a lease was in place by the end of June.

Speaking previously Vale council spokesman, Andy Roberts, said the council had worked hard to help the club and investigated a number of locations.

He said: "Unfortunately, all the locations investigated in our ownership had legal issues that prevented them from being used for the club’s needs.

"We granted planning permission in our capacity as planning authority – all planning applicants are responsible for identifying that there are no other restrictions on the site."

The issue will be debated by district councillors on Wednesday, February 14 at The Beacon in Wantage at 7pm.