03:15PM, Monday 17 June 2019
Paddles and picnics were at the ready for the return of the 19th Marlow Town Regatta and Festival (MTRF).
Higginson Park once again played host to another of the town’s trademark events on Saturday and Sunday, following Pub in the Park which took place during May.
The regatta has become a staple of the Marlow sport and social calendar and was celebrating its 19th year, as thousands of people attended.
Live music, rowing, riverside dining and the customary dragon boat races took centre stage during the two-day event, which was opened by Anne Redgrave, wife of former professional rower Steve, who made an appearance on Saturday night.
Both are honorary joint presidents of the regatta committee, which was saying thank you to outgoing chairman Nav Ali – marking his last year in the role after eight years - with Robin Atkinson set to replace him.
The new chairman said: “It is just a great social event.
“We work very closely with Pub in the Park – they are very respectful. It is wonderful to see these two things working together, and the town folk benefit – that is what it is all about.”
Robin added he was ‘proud’ to have been selected for his new role and explained his vision for the regatta’s future.
“We agreed at the end of this regatta that I would take over the reigns.
“I am proud – in fact I have been on the committee since the very first town regatta, so I have been there all the way through the transition and worked really closely with Nav over the last few years to get the regatta to what we have now.
“I am just very pleased. I have inherited a fantastic team and from the comments we received from people coming up to us on Saturday, we are obviously making a lot of people in Marlow very happy.
“One area that we are trying to promote more is the activities on the water.
“We have developed activities on land but I do not want to forget the water. There is fantastic buzz created by the dragon boats so we are really going to help them as much as we can.
“We are [also] looking at getting large screens so people can see what is going on wherever they are.”
Vice-president of the MTRF Lance Slater said: “We had a tremendous weekend again.
“We had a great crowd, and sold out all of the picnic sites so there was a giant garden party right until 10pm when the last band finished, with lots of people stomping about enjoying themselves.
“The Sunday stayed dry and the dragon boat races interspersed with more rowing – which was a nice combination and kept everybody interested.”
The Saturday was a paid entry day with a smart dress code, while the Sunday was free of charge and open to everyone, with some visitors exhibiting some interesting Dame Edna-themed attires.
The anticipated rowing race between Sir William Borlase and Great Marlow Schools saw the former emerge victorious.
All money made goes back into putting on the event next year, with any surplus heading to relevant charities.
Next year’s MTRF will take place on the weekend of June 13/14.
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