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Sunshine and Blue Peter at 175th regatta
Published 03/07/14

THE sun shone as the 175th Henley Royal Regatta began on Wednesday.

There were 80 races watched by thousands of spectators who lined the river bank dressed in glamorous dresses, eye-catching hats and brightly-coloured blazers.

Temperatures peaked at 23C and the warm weather was set to continue today (Friday) but the Met Office is forecasting light rain for tomorrow and Sunday with temperatures not above 21C.

To mark the anniversary of the first regatta in 1839, a special tea was served in the luncheon tent which included a buffet and glasses of Kir Royale or bucks fizz. The royal barge Gloriana was moored by the Boat Tent.

Blue Peter presenters Lindsay Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya raced each other in double sculls on the full regatta course in a special challenge for the children’s TV show. They were partnered by rowers Pete Warman and Jenny Chapman, from Agecroft Rowing Club in Salford, where the programme is filmed.

The pair have been in training for six weeks and Russell said: “They got us from not being able to get in a boat without wobbling to competing here. It’s one thing to do the training but it’s another thing being here and feeling the atmosphere. There is a real buzz.”

Chinyanganya said: “What I am going to take away is the memory as we neared the finish line of all the people cheering and clapping. For a split second it feels like you actually are a rower.” Relatives of Olympic champion rowers came together at the regatta.

Richard “Dickie” Burnell won gold for GB at the 1948 Olympic regatta in Henley with Bertram “Bertie” Bushnell in the double sculls.

Burnell’s daughter Tizzi was one of the four relatives invited to attend the regatta on Wednesday, along with Bushnell’s daughter Sue and granddaughter Molly, 19.

They were joined by John Beresford, whose father Jack won five Olympic rowing medals, a record unsurpassed for 60 years until 1996 when Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth Olympic gold.

The meeting was arranged by rowing journalist and historian Tim Koch.

He said: “I found out that Sue and John hadn’t been to the regatta for years and Molly had never been, so I thought that was something that should be rectified.

“The regatta has been exceptionally kind to us and arranged for us to have tickets.”

Published 03/07/14

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