Monday, 20 September 2021

Spirit of Dunkirk on display at boat festival

A FLOTILLA of Dunkirk Little Ships which took part in the evacuation of Allied soldiers from

A FLOTILLA of Dunkirk Little Ships which took part in the evacuation of Allied soldiers from France 75 years ago will sail down the River Thames this weekend.

The event is part of the Thames Traditional Boat Festival at Fawley Meadows, near Henley.

About 200 vessels will take part in the festival, which includes Gloriana, the Queen’s row barge, and Blue Bird K3, which set the world land speed record in 1938.

The group of 25 Little Ships will sail down the river at 2.20pm on both days.

The Blue Bird will do two 2.1km runs, at 5pm on Saturday and noon on Sunday, along the Thames reach.

Gloriana will sail past the site on both days — powered by Leander Club rowers on Saturday and Phyllis Court Club members on Sunday.

An illuminated boat convoy will set off at 10pm on Saturday from the meadows and go along the Henley waterfront before turning at Rod Eyot Island.

The event, formerly known as the Traditional Boat Rally, is in its 36th year.

It was cancelled last year in the wake of the winter floods but has been relaunched under the new name and with a new committee headed by Lady McAlpine.

As well as the boats more than 100 classic cars, amphibious vehicles and motorbikes will be on display at the meadows, and there will be fly-pasts.

Hobbs of Henley will run a water taxi service  calling at Red Lion Lawn and Phyllis Court Club en route and  Leander Club and the Henley Royal Regatta headquarters on the way back.

A pop-up pub from Luscombes, at the Golden Ball in Lower Assendon, will run a takeaway service and a 100-cover restaurant. Henley micro-brewery Lovibonds will sell beer.

Gates open at 9am with tickets £12 per day or £22 for the weekend. Children under 15 enter free if accompanied by an adult.

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