Generations join in Thames ‘rescue’

Teamwork helps distraught boy fish his homemade skateboard from the river

THE Thames is the one feature common to most of the towns and villages in our area – it provides a focus for much of north-west Surrey. But it’s nice to know that in addition to uniting communities it can bring the generations together – as evidenced by an event involving Staines’ Surrey County Councillor Denise Turner-Stewart during the recent school half-term holiday.

“I was enjoying a bike ride along the towpath with my son on Monday afternoon when I saw three young lads – they must have been around 12 or 13 years old – with skateboards. They were messing about and one lad kicked another one’s board and it rolled straight into the river by the jetty outside the Outback restaurant close to Staines bridge,” Denise reported. “The boy who owned the board was absolutely distraught because his uncle had made it for him and he was determined not to leave without getting it back.”

Denise, from Penton Avenue, Staines, spent some time persuading the youngster that jumping into a fast-flowing, ice cold river to retrieve the board was not a good plan and she pointed out that what they needed was something with a long handle to fish the skateboard out. Cue a member of the older generation who had been watching the whole thing unfold from the French doors of his house on the opposite bank of the river by the Swan pub. Denise spotted him standing waving a hoe in the air. The youngsters ran over the bridge and came back with the hoe and a litter picker and, with Denise’s help, the board was successfully retrieved.

Denise offered to return the implements so that the youngsters could head off homewards but they insisted on returning the tools themselves to say thank you to their benefactor.

She said: “It was great to see their appreciation for all the help they’d received. Youngsters get a lot of bad press but these lads from Stanwell provided a wonderful example of how the generations can work together.” Good stuff.

THANKS to Mike Brown from Laleham Reach, Chertsey, who wrote to me following last week’s article on the changing moods of the river. He sent in this photo of a boat called Danny Boy that had a lucky escape when it broke free from its moorings on Long Island just below Penton Hook in January. He spotted it fetched up on Chertsey Weir, rocking precariously in the strong stream against the weir ropes until an Environment Agency launch with help from Chertsey Chandlers pulled it off the weir and returned it to it’s grateful owners. Must be the luck of the Irish…

MIKE also tells me that Burway Rowing Club in Laleham finally managed to stage a head of the river race on Saturday February 23 – the first for over 18 months because five previous planned events have had to be cancelled because of adverse conditions on the river. It was a fantastic day with more than 120 boats competing and generating some much-needed revenue for the club. Hopefully the sign of a better year ahead.

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