Only a couple of dozen hardy people turned out in atrocious rain on Sunday for a new event to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

The Best Paw Forward Walk was held for the first time at Savernake Forest by kind permission of the Earl of Cardigan whose ex-wife Rosamond, 63, died from cancer in July.

The Marlborough Branch of CRUK had hoped some of the success of a Best Paw Forward event held in Barnes, Middlesex, last year – which raised £48,000 – would rub off on it.

However, the day turned out to be one of the wettest of the year, deterring many of the people who had expressed interest in attending, said branch spokesman Anne Deuchar.

Instead of the expected hundreds of walkers and dogs supporting Winter Olympics silver medal winner Shelley Rudman, who travelled down from her home in Yorkshire to take part, just 29 people with 18 dogs braved the non-stop rain.

Whereas the organisers had been contemplating proceeds running into thousands they had to be content with about £300. Mrs Deuchar put on a brave face and said: “Three hundred pounds is better than nothing.”

Ms Rudman, who grew up in Pewsey, drove down from Sheff-ield with her daughter Ella-Marie, four, to join her mother and father Jack and Josie Rudman from Pewsey who were among the walkers not put off by the continuous rain.

Before the start the athlete said: “Cancer Research UK is a charity we should all be supporting because we all know of someone who is fighting cancer.”

After the walk, Mrs Deuchar said: “We had to shut it down early at one o’clock because we became worried about anyone else setting out in such slippery conditions.

“We were desperately unlucky with the weather but that has not stopped us from deciding to make this an annual event.

“Considering the weather was so atrocious I think we did very well and we thank everyone who came along and supported us.”