Storm puts Hemingford Regatta in danger as tree flattens event boathouse

The boathouse in Hemingford Grey which was damaged by a falling tree The boathouse in Hemingford Grey which was damaged by a falling tree

Monday, February 17, 2014
12:11 PM

Villagers face a race against time to ensure the Hemingfords Regatta goes ahead after a fallen tree demolished the boathouse.

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This tree damaged a property in Offord D'Arcy on Friday night.This tree damaged a property in Offord D'Arcy on Friday night.

The 113th regatta in Hemingford Grey on July 12 has been put at risk after the boathouse was flattened on Friday night in the storm.

The event, started in 1901, is thought to be the country’s oldest village coxed regatta and attracts hundreds of visitors each year to watch the day-long competition for 30 trophies.

Pam Bartlett, chairman of the Hemingfords Regatta Committee, said: “When we heard that a tree had fallen on the boatshed we all rallied around ready to remove it with chainsaws and begin repairs.

“Unfortunately it’s much more serious than that – you can barely see the shed, which has been virtually flattened. It’s too early to say how many boats are damaged, but we think that some of the boats will have to be written off, while many will need to be repaired.”

She added: “We are a voluntary committee and have to raise all the funds to run the event and maintain the boats. Unfortunately not everything will be covered by insurance, so a lot of money and a lot of hours will need to be spent over the coming months to ensure that the village sees its 113th regatta on Saturday 12 July as planned.

“Ironically, we had just begun planning our bi-annual ball, which we run to raise money for the regatta. That event, and other fundraising, will now be doubly important.”

A house in Offord D’Arcy was also damaged by a fallen tree.

The A14 was also disrupted by the strong winds as a lorry was blown over between Godmanchester and Spittals on Saturday morning. The road was closed both ways by police due to safety concerns from the high winds and height of the road. The road was reopened at about 4pm.

The Imperial War Museum Duxford (IWM) has reopened most of its site after it was forced to close as part of the roof of the AirSpace hangar was damaged by the winds. The museum is open except for the AirSpace and Visitor Centre and admission prices have been reduced accordingly.

There is still a flood alert in place for the River Great Ouse, with only Station Lane, Offord Cluny, closed due to flooding.

Heavy showers are forecast for Tuesday afternoon and light rain is due on Thursday, but the remainder of the week should be fairly dry though Friday could see a return of strong winds.

n Were you affected by the winds? Send your pictures and stories to news@huntspost.co.uk.

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