Friday, 24 September 2021

Appeal launched for entries to disabled regatta

ORGANISERS of this year’s Henley Regatta for the Disabled are appealing for more entries for the

ORGANISERS of this year’s Henley Regatta for the Disabled are appealing for more entries for the dragon boat racing.

The popular competition is run throughout the day but more teams are needed. So far six have signed up but the committee would like at least 10 to take part.

No experience is necessary and a full briefing will be given on the day.

The event will form part of the seventh annual regatta which will be held in the paddock at Phyllis Court Club, off Marlow Road, on Saturday, September 3 from 10am until 4pm.

Committee member and administrator Carolyn Molyneux, said: “We have never had this issue before. That weekend seems to have a lot of other events on all around the area, especially on water. I’ve found it quite difficult to have our regular people who would usually come along.

“We’ve written to so many people asking if they would be able to make a team. I’ve even written to the Mayor – he could do a boat of councillors. People don’t need any experience, it’s supposed to be fun. It’s an important part of the day. It encourages people to come from all over and they all wear fancy dress.”

Teams are made up of 10 paddlers and one drummer and entry costs £220 per boat, or £20 per person.

Actor and regatta trustee David Suchet will be at the event, along with triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge, from Checkendon, fresh from his victory in the men’s eight at Rio, and also Paralympian Helene Raynsford, who won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games in the women’s single sculls.

The regatta provides a fun day out for less able bodied people of all ages, and with any level of disability, to enjoy land and river based activities with their carers, family and friends.

A specially-adapted boat, Rivertime, which has wheelchair access will be running free river trips all day — but remember to book your space on arrival as the trips are very popular.

There will also be live music, a Punch and Judy show, Miller’s Park Zoo Animals, craft stands, a food outlet and beer stand, a climbing wall, adaptive games, the Bell Boat, Wheelie Boat and many more land and water based activities.

Henley town councillor David Eggleton will once again don his Cavalier outfit and talk about the history of Henley and Phyllis Court.

Mrs Molyneux added: “It’s a fun day out for the family on the river and on land. People who aren’t normally able to do these things will have the opportunity to go on a river trip.

“We have different people coming every year from all over the country, not just from Henley.”

More than 700 people flocked to the banks of the Thames for last year’s Regatta for the Disabled.

The regatta was founded in 2010 by Jane Holmes, chief executive of the Building For The Future charity, and Louise Light, a volunteer with Headway. Both have disabled children.

Mrs Holmes stood down as chairwoman after the 2012 event and was replaced by Ian Tritton, from Rotherfield Peppard. Mike Pooley has now taken on the role of chairman.

Tickets for the day cost £5. Entry for children under four-years-old and for carers is free. There is free parking on site.

Money raised from the regatta will be used to stage a free activity day next May on the river at Bisham Abbey.

For more information on entering a dragon boat call Mrs Molyneux at Delegate Office and Conference Services on (01491) 579058.

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