SPELTHORNE’S annual River Day takes place on Saturday, September 6 when the borough’s mayor will be rowed up the Thames from Sunbury to Staines in a grand procession aimed at raising money for charity.
This year’s Mayor, Cllr Simon Bhadye and his wife, Candy, will be the guests of honour aboard the Jubilant, a rowing barge based on the design of a Royal Shallop, which will be rowed by a crew of volunteer oarsmen including a number of former mayors of Spelthorne. The event will get under way from Rivermead Island in Sunbury at 9.30am and Jubilant will wend her way up the river arriving at the Memoral Gardens in Staines at around 1.30pm.
Traditionally, the mayor urges people from across the borough to join him on the trek – by rowing, sculling, paddling, sailing or cruising with the procession as it winds its way up the river. The more the merrier – let’s hope for some good weather for the event.
At the same time you can help raise money for the mayor’s charity fund by obtaining sponsorship from businesses, family and friends.
I’m very much in favour of supporting this event this year because Cllr Bhadye’s two chosen charities are both particularly worthy causes.
The first of his charities is the Staines and Egham Sea Cadets, currently based in Staines but soon to have to decamp to pastures new because of plans to redevelop the Bridge Street car park in the town centre. The sea cadets provide an excellent opportunity for youngsters of both sexes to learn new skills both on and off the water – and to learn a bit about Britain’s naval heritage into the bargain.
His second charity is To Transplant and Beyond, run by my good friend John Fisher, which provides help and advice to transplant patients, their families and carers during a very traumatic time.
John, from Park Grove, Ashford, is himself a heart transplant patient who spends much of his time now encouraging others who are in line for organ transplants. And to demonstrate that a heart transplant doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t lead an active life, he has run marathons all over the world including in London, Beijing, Sydney, Athens and South Africa since receiving his new heart in 2001.
Even if you can’t get out on the river, get on down to the towpath to give the rowers and their procession a big cheer (and put something into the collection boxes).
Sponsorship forms are available from the Mayor’s Parlour on 01784 446275 or by e-mail at mayor [at] spelthorne.gov.uk
- The shallop is owned by the Jubilant Trust, which was started by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association in 1995
- It aims to encourage use of the River Thames for sport and recreation
- Jubilant was built in 2002 to honour the Queen’s Golden Jubilee
- The boat is a replica of the naval victualling commissioner’s barge dating from the 1800s
- King John is reputed to have arrived at Runnymede for the sealing of Magna Carta in a shallop
- A four-oared shallop could cover the distance from Hampton Court to Greenwich in around four hours