Friday, 15 December 2017

Women's regatta to be streamed live in 2016

HENLEY Women?s regatta is set to be streamed live on the internet next year

HENLEY Women?s regatta is set to be streamed live on the internet next year.

But the organisers have ruled out adding a fourth day to the June event ? for now.

A meeting of the town council?s finance strategy and management committee heard the regatta needed £10,000 to restore the streaming service, which was used in 2013 and 2014 but not this year.

Phillip Plato, a member of the executive committee, told councillors that the event was a ?success story? as it was run entirely by volunteers and brought income to the town.

He said the competitors and spectators stayed in hotels and guest houses and frequented shops and restaurants, spending an estimated combined total of £300,000.

Mr Plato added: ?The executive members feel their prime responsibility is to the financial security of this event.?

He said he had been sceptical about streaming but it had generated such a level of interest that the executive wanted to restore it. He hoped this would attract more sponsorship.

?We?d far rather have 10 local businesses provide us with a couple of thousand pounds,? he said. ?We feel that?s more sustainable and more engaging to the community.?

Mr Plato said that a survey of athletes and coaches showed that 75 per cent supported the idea of a fourth day of racing but many expressed reservations, such as having to taking more time off work.

He also noted that residents of Remenham had complained about the idea of another day due to the extra disruption it would cause them.

Mr Plato said: ?I must add that we?re not trying to emulate or compete with Henley Royal Regatta. For a start we?re 150 years younger than they are.

?We?re not seeking to provide another four- or five-day regatta. For 2016 at least we?re trying to strive to maintain racing over a three-day format.?

This could mean extending the regatta?s hours of operation, introducing shorter intervals between races and having additional umpires and launches.

Mayor Lorraine Hillier said: ?I?m very supportive of Henley Women?s Regatta. I think it?s excellent for the town ? it brings in a lot of money.?

The committee agreed to recommend to the full council that it awards the regatta a £10,000 grant.

Meanwhile, Henley Rugby Club is set to be given £200,000 by the council towards ground improvements. The Hawks are trying to raise £475,000 for an overhaul of their clubhouse as part of a redevelopment of Dry Leas that could cost up to £1.78million.

South Oxfordshire District Council has awarded the club £100,000 from its communities capital grants scheme.

Now the town council?s finance strategy and management committee has recommended that £200,000 be included in next year?s budget.

Councillor Kellie Hinton said: ?I support this and would like to see us give them the full amount if we can.?

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said he was in favour because the club was a ?major asset? for the town.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said: ?We have got £4.8million in the bank and therefore we should be using it for investing in Henley.?

Hawks? chairman Mike Trethewey said: ?The town council has always been hugely supportive of us.

?I think what they have recognised is that what we provide is a huge community resource.

?I?m particularly delighted because, assuming it gets past the full council, it relieves us of any financial liability going forward. I don?t think it?s a secret that some of our financial history hasn?t been brilliant. We?re now in a much better position.?

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