HRH The Princess Royal to launch Thames Valley Accessible Regatta

HRH The Princess Royal will officially launch the Rivertime Accessible Regatta 2017 on Wednesday 14 June at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Marlow. The Regatta, the first of its kind, is being organised by the Rivertime Boat Trust and the charity Give Them a Sporting Chance, of which Her Royal Highness is Guardian.

Bell boating on the River Thames

Over 350 young people aged 8-15, with a wide range of disabilities and special needs, will take part in the Accessible Regatta. Drawn from over 20 local schools, the event is designed to give them the same sporting opportunities other young people freely enjoy.

The river will come to life with a full programme of water sports taking place along the stretch of the Thames at Bisham Abbey. They include:

  • Competitive Bell boating - a fun activity for all ages, bell boats can fit between 8-12 people in a very stable craft constructed of two hulls, where the paddlers sit, connected with a platform in the middle. The boats are steered by a helm positioned at the stern of the boat
  • Sailing and powerboating - accessible sailing dinghies and motor boats will be there, as will the Rivertime launch for leisure trips and Coulam Wheelyboats V20 for more exhilarating trips that can reach speeds up to 30mph on open water
  • Accessible canoeing, which is debuting at this event, kayaking and rowing

As well as providing opportunities for those taking part in the regatta, there will be more than 20 young sports leaders volunteering on the day to assist the sports providers in delivering the events. Many are also from SEN schools and are working towards certificates in leadership, so this event provides them with an excellent opportunity to put their skills into action.

Carers supporting the children participating in the regatta will have the opportunity to take part in a ‘Carers Challenge’ on the day as well, to recognise their contribution and support.

As well as water-based activities, young people will also have the opportunity to try various land-based activities. The National Sports Centre, working with other charities, will be putting on a range of land based accessible sports such as wheelchair basketball and tennis, boccia, cycling, new age kurling, cheerleading, archery, land sailing and disability football.

Simon Davis, Rivertime Boat Trust Co-founder and Chairman says:

“I am delighted that the Princess Royal is able to join us to launch our first Accessible Regatta which is unique in providing participation for so many children and young people in one place at one time.
“We are delighted by the enthusiasm and support we have received and it is this which will drive us forward to create The Rivertime Accessible Regatta as an annual event, inspiring other organisations and charities to organise similar events and encouraging disabled children and young people to develop a long-term involvement with accessible sports.”

Anne Wadsworth, Give Them a Sporting Chance Trustee, says:

“Everyone’s life can be enriched and their horizons expanded by a sporting chance. I am delighted that so many young people will share this wonderful day of sporting chances at Bisham Abbey on 14th June. This is exactly what Give Them a Sporting Chance is all about. It has been wonderful to work with the Rivertime Boat Trust to put on this event together.”

Manor Green School said:

“We like the opportunity to give our students the freedom of being on the river. Being on water makes the children more independent and they also improve at working as a team. The children can access it all because there is also the Wheelyboat and so everybody who comes along gets a go and nobody gets left out. They absolutely love it.”