Thursday, 18 July 2019

Royalty, boats and lots more at ‘Trad’

A MEMBER of the royal family and a torpedo boat from the First World War will be attending this year’s Thames Traditional Boat Festival in Henley.

The 41st annual event will take place at Fawley Meadows from Friday to Sunday, July 19 to 21.

It will feature the largest display of traditional boats in the world, the fleet of Dunkirk “Little Ships”, the Queen’s row barge Gloriana, amphibious and military vehicles and a First World War air display team.

Lady McAlpine, who chairs the festival, said: “It is the only event of its kind and it is really the only big family event in Henley plus it is quintessentially English.

“Also, we are terribly nice and it’s a family show and not expensive. It is not in any way elitist, it is a family fun day out and the kids go free.

“We have a radio-controlled First World War motor torpedo boat. It is the only one remaining and it will be on the water and some of the planes that used to control it overhead.

“We have got quite a lot of well-known people coming — Prince Michael and Ben Fogle and Jeremy Irons will be bringing his sailing punt.”

River trips will be available on Alaska, an old steam boat.

There will be fairground rides for children, a family dog show and demonstrations of boat building and allied crafts as well as shops, crafts and antiques, stalls, a pop-up Crooked Billet pub, street food and bars.

The Covered will play in the pub on Friday and Highly Strung on Saturday and on Sunday there will be jazz music.

Lady McAlpine said: “We will also be having a history of the Trad trail with a prize if you can spot everything and a best-dressed prize for period dress each day as well as the usual prizes for the boat owners.”

Sponsors include Bremont, the Shanly Foundation, Hobbs of Henley, Grundon and the Rug

The festival will once again be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Its ultimate aim is to provide apprenticeships in traditional boatbuilding and associated crafts.

For tickets, boat entries and more information, visit

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