Club prepares for showpiece regatta event

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Stratford Boat Club are preparing for their annual regatta next month. Left: Cath Errington, fundraising manager for Heart of England Mencap (centre, l-r) Joe Moore, adaptive helper, Stratford Boat Club, Paul Stanton, president, Stratford Boat Club, Gail Mathers, Rosconn Group, Colin Upchurch, Stratford Boat Club, Nick Blinkhorne, Heart of England Mencap.

HUNDREDS of spectators are expected to gather by the banks of the River Avon next month, to watch competitors from far and wide compete in the annual Rosconn Group Stratford Boat Club Regatta.

The event takes place on Saturday, 17th June, and is organised by Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club.

The regatta has been taking place in Stratford since 1879.

As well as Stratford’s own crews, the event draws competitors, able-bodied and adaptive, and their supporters from clubs throughout the UK, including Leicester Rowing Club, Monmouth Comprehensive School, Northwich Rowing Club, Nottingham & Union Rowing Club and nearby Warwick Boat Club.

Racing is on the town stretch of the river from Holy Trinity Church to the club grounds by the Tramway Bridge.

As well as the rowing contingent, the regatta attracts a lot of interest from visitors to the town who come down to the Bancroft Gardens and the Recreation Ground to enjoy the racing, barbecue and the beer and tea tent in the club grounds, which are open to all.

Racing starts around 8.30am and finishes around 6.30pm with 162 entries last year.

Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s treasurer, said: “The regatta and also the Fun Regatta in July are very weather dependent events and without our sponsor Rosconn Group, we couldn’t risk holding the regatta.

“We are also amazingly lucky to have help from other river organisations such as the Avon Navigation Trust, the Sea Cadets, Avon Boating, the Environment Agency, Bancroft Cruisers, Canal and River Tours, the Countess of Evesham, and also the co-operation of those who make their living on the river.”

Heart of England Mencap – supporting local people with learning disabilities – has been chosen as this year’s nominated charity.

The charity already benefits from close links with Stratford Boat Club — Mencap customers enjoying rowing sessions in adapted boats, as Cath Errington, fundraising manager for Heart of England Mencap, explains: “It’s a real privilege to be part of this year’s regatta and we owe a big thanks to Stratford Boat Club and to Rosconn Group too, both brilliant supporters of our charity.

“Getting out on the water and trying their hand at rowing is something our customers have gained a huge amount of pleasure out of.”

Paul Stanton, president of Stratford Boat Club, added: “Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club looks forward to welcoming competing crews, VIPs and guests and especially Stratford and Warwickshire residents and visitors to the town down to watch and enjoy what is going to be an action-packed day.

For details on how to become a sponsor at the regatta, e-mail christopherbest03@gmail.com