Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Fun Regatta took place on Saturday amidst good humoured rivalry. While crowds from Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield came in great numbers, the weather was ideal and thus the demand for the barbecue, tea tent and bar was continuous, many celebrating or drowning their sorrows! Cheers from crew supporters and visitors spurred on some twenty four crews to their fleeting place in history – winning, surviving, completing the course or being the best well dressed crew on the river!
Said Chris Belcher, Stratford Boat Club’s Joint Fun Regatta Secretary, “This year’s Fun Regatta, our seventeenth, was another great one in terms of number of local crews from companies and organisations. This year we also had crews from parents of our young rowers: fierce competition and rivalry – especially from the mums of rowers from King Edward The Sixth School – maxiMUM Mayhem!”
Simon Price, Joint Fun Regatta Secretary added, “The ingenuity and effort put into the fancy dress was amazing – Lightning Vikings, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and The Redbacks – brought a smile to everybody’s face! Already we’ve seen several competitors sign up for Stratford Boat Club’s adult Learn to Row courses next year for those wanting to try rowing even more seriously or just for recreational exercise.”
“We enjoyed hosting so many visitors and local residents at the Fun Regatta,” said Paul Stanton, the Club’s President. “This year the Fun Regatta came at just the right time to lift our spirits after the disappointment for having to cancel our fine boat regatta in June on safety grounds: we are delighted that most of the sponsors and suppliers to our main regatta have continued to support us and we are on track for running our re-scheduled fine boat regatta on Saturday 21 September. We have had a very exciting year having done so well in local and national regattas. The Fun Regatta helps us to show that rowing isn’t just about serious competition and that there is also the fun and recreational aspect to our sport. We are a community club and the support of local companies and organisations is crucial to us and will help to increase our outreach to local and area schools and will increased our ability to provide sport for all especially those looking for weekday recreation and exercise.”
The winners of the Fun Regatta were The Redbacks with the fastest time and the Lightning Vikings with the most innovative fancy dress!
On Sunday, whilst most of the Club were recovering from a very busy Fun Regatta, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Junior Girls’ coxless four of Katie Wellstead, Talei Dunn, Emily Brown and Molly Gill-Swift travelled to the Royal Albert Dock in London’s East End to race over a 1.5k course in the trials to represent England in the Home International Regatta. The girls put in a superb performance but having only had one hour’s training together, they were ten seconds from selection.
Two other Stratford athletes rowing for University of Nottingham were also on show. Peter Boyes raced in a coxless four and Imogen North in a double scull and after an exceptional race qualified to represent England.
For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald pages seven and sixteen