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Town's regatta returns in 150th year

Attractions | Published:

Bridgnorth Rowing Club's annual regatta will go ahead this weekend, in the club's 150th year.

From 2013

The regatta, which organisers hope will attract up to 200 entries, will also include a celebratory dinner dance.

The regatta, to be held from Severn Park, will include races in many categories, including a race for the Severn Challenge Cup.

A barbecue, cake stall and bar will entertain those on dry land.

The club was formed in 1868, and members have been digging into the history of the group in their milestone year.

Paul Wallis from the club said: "We originally thought that the club was formed in 1865, until a member came across an old document stating what date it was officially formed.

"Rowing became popular in Victorian times and many clubs were formed in the late 1800’s, we have been researching the club’s history and found that the club hosted a rowing race between Shrewsbury School and Cheltenham College in 1868, a race which we plan to replicate at this years 150th regatta on June 9. Both schools will be attending.

"In the early days the club was situated in a building on the side of the 'Maltings' building which is the clubhouse today, the club continued until the first world war when it went into decline.

From 2016

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"The club was then reformed in July 1953 by local policeman Bill Williams and local man doctor Rhodes, a former University Blue who had a rowing oar hanging in his surgery waiting room in West Castle Street.

"An open meeting was held at the Bandon Arms to see what interest there was to get the club going again, former club president John Wallis was amongst others who wanted to give it a go."

A new clubhouse in the form of a nissen hut was purchased for £20, equipment was donated by other rowing clubs and the club was back on its feet. In the early 90s they moved back into the Maltings building, and converted it with grant funding.

Paul said: "The Maltings building was purchased in a dilapidated state and a lot of hard work went into getting it to the condition it is in today, an excellent facility consisting of two boat houses, a gym, changing rooms and a social clubroom with a balcony overlooking the river.

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"Although not the largest of the upper Severn rowing club’s Bridgnorth put out some quality crews during the Regatta season and hope to qualify for Henley Regatta this year.

"The rowing club has a bright future and was recently helped by sponsorship from local employer Bridgnorth Star and Joules Brewery who have taken over the Shakespeare pub in town, hopefully even more people will take up the sport."

For more information on the regatta call 01746 764845 or email regatta@bridgnorthrc.co.uk

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