Saturday, 25 September 2021

Family regatta returns after flooding

THIS year's Goring and Streatley Regatta will take place on July 25.

THIS year's Goring and Streatley Regatta will take place on July 25.

The event, which is organised by the Goring Gap Boat Club, will be held on a stretch of the Thames at Streatley Farm, near Cleeve Lock.

Races will include coxed fours, single sculls, dinghies, canoes and paddling punts.

There will be races for men, women and mixed crews as well as events for juniors and children.

The regatta is open to both experienced rowers and novices and training is offered as part of the entry fee.

There will also be the usual family attractions like canoe and dongola racing, food stalls, fairground games and a bar.

There will be funfair rides for the first time and more live music than in previous years.

Club chairman Hugh Baker-Smith said: "We're really increasing our focus on making it a family day out. Watching the rowing is a big draw but for many of our visitors this will be the only rowing event they will ever attend.

"We are determined to make it exciting for all age groups."

This year's regatta will be the first since 2013 as last year's was called off due to flooding.

The ground was saturated in the winter and had not dried out enough by the summer.

The event was cancelled for the same reason in 2012.

Mr Baker-Smith said: "This year's weather has been so much better so we are now confident in saying the regatta will go ahead.

"It has been called off only three times since 1993 so it's really just bad luck that two of those occasions were so recent. We are giving a lot of thought to what we can do if there are problems in future.

"We're looking at potential fallback sites because we don't like being at the mercy of the English weather."

Meanwhile, the club is set to move to a new permanent home by the end of this year.

It is currently based at temporary premises on the Hardwick Estate in Whitchurch but has been given planning permission to build a boathouse by Gatehampton railway bridge on the southern bank of the Thames just outside Goring.

It is carrying out ecological work on the site and will build an access road before starting work on the main building by June.

The project will cost about £560,000. The club has raised about three-quarters of the money for the initial build and has applied to Sport England for the remaining money with the backing of British Rowing. Mr Baker-Smith said: "Once the first phase is completed, just having a basic building will give us better facilities than we currently have.

"Raising the remaining funds should be easier because people can see we've made progress and that we're committed to completing it. We have almost £200,000 so far and I think that is pretty impressive for a small, recreational rowing club."

To raise money, the club has published a cookery book called Oarsome Recipes. It costs £10 and can be ordered from Virgo Beauty or the Miller of Mansfield in High Street, Goring.

For more information, visit www.goringgapbc.org.uk

• The club will also be launching its next Learn 2 Row course on April 18. The course runs for four weeks on consecutive Saturdays with one midweek session at the Oxford University rowing tank. Crew entries for the regatta will open on the club's website in April.

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