Hemingford Regatta brings in the crowds

PEOPLE of all ages and abilities took to the water at Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbots for the annual regatta.

The day-long event kicked off from 9am and saw rowers take part in 191 races on the River Great Ouse before the close at 7.30pm.

Three thousand people are thought to have attended the day. Teams from The Axe and Compass, and The Cock provided some entertainment when they went head-to-head in a tug-of-war.

Organiser Derek Clifton, who has rowed for 60 years, said: “It is a terrific atmosphere. It is so village-y. It is competitive, but you see the little kids shaking hands at the end. It is a real sportsman’s day.

“It is a family regatta. There are people there you only see once a year. It is such a friendly day.”

The day has been held at the village for 111 years and was started by the Vicar of Hemingford Grey, the Reverend Byrom Holland, and his friend the artist Walter Dendy Sadler.

Mr Clifton was instrumental in keeping the tradition alive, when the day nearly folded 50 years ago through lack of interest.

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Today the Hemingford Regatta Committee, made up of 20 local volunteers, organises the day.