Sunday, 24 October 2021

Regatta for disabled appeals for more bell boat teams to sign up

Regatta for disabled appeals for more bell boat teams to sign up

ORGANISERS of next month’s Henley Regatta for the Disabled are appealing for more teams to take part in the bell boating competition.

Ten teams have signed up so far but more are needed. No experience is necessary and a full briefing will be given on the day.

The event will be one of the attractions of the eighth annual regatta, which will be held in the paddock at Phyllis Court Club, off Marlow Road, on September 2 from 10am to 4pm.

In previous years the racing took place on dragon boats but they were unable to take part this year.

The bell boats will be supplied by Rivertime Accessible Boating at Bisham Abbey and run by the Eyot Centre in Henley.

Teams are made up of 10 paddlers and a helmsperson and entry is £100 per boat. Regatta spokeswoman Viv Lowery said: “If any organisation or company thinks they might not have enough people to make up a boat we will be able to make up the numbers. The regatta is all about allowing disabled people to enjoy and have fun on the river and we have been drumming up as much support as we can.”

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

A specially adapted boat, Rivertime, which has wheelchair access, will be running free trips all day.

There will also be adapted bicycles to try, a wheelchair assault course, a fully-accessible climbing wall, face-painting, an animal petting zoo and live music from Sam Brown’s Famous Ukulele Band. Visitors can learn a new skill at interactive workshops teaching paper craft, jewellery making, knitting and braiding.

Helene Raynsford, who won gold in the women’s single sculls at the 2008 Paralympics, will attend the event.

Ms Lowery added: “This event is a wonderful opportunity for both able and disabled people to work together as a team to enjoy activities on the Thames. There are more interactive land-based activities this year than ever, with an emphasis on learning new skills.

“Visitors can learn how to play a musical instrument, have a go at the wheelchair assault course, participate in learning a craft or simply enjoy a boat ride on the river or sit and watch the bell boat racing and other activities, such as Punch & Judy and the petting zoo.”

Tickets cost £5 but children under four and carers are admitted free. Parking is free.

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