THE new Mayor of Spelthorne, Cllr Caroline Spencer, is taking a novel approach to the annual River Day ritual this year by moving it from its traditional spot in September – and reversing the direction so that the procession begins in Staines and ends in Sunbury.
The reason for these changes is that Caroline wants the celebration of the river’s role in Spelthorne to coincide with Sunbury regatta (about which I’ll be writing more next week) and that means the date has to be Saturday, August 15.
“I thought it would be good to try to tie the Mayor’s River Day in with another big local event,” she told me.
“And Sunbury regatta is such a popular attraction, it seemed to be the obvious thing to do.
“The procession will get under way from the landing stage at the Thames Lodge Hotel in Staines at 10am and we should be arriving at Sunbury around 2pm when, hopefully, there will be a good crowd to welcome us.”
The Spelthorne Mayor’s River Day was conceived by former Mayor Judith Wood-Dow when she was in office as a way of recognising the beauty of the Thames as it flows through our area.
The Mayor will be rowed by a crew consisting largely of former mayors in a traditional shallop, the design of which goes back to Henry VIII’s time.
Caroline, who has always been a boaty person and who used to sail a boat on the south coast, hopes that as many people as possible will turn out to watch the flotilla go by and give her wave and that boat owners on our stretch of the Thames will join the procession as it winds it way in regal fashion from Staines to Sunbury. If you’d like further details, contact the Mayor’s secretary, Sue Hulme, on 01784 446 275. Let’s hope for some decent weather.
Money raised during the day will go towards the Mayor’s chosen charities for the year – One-to-One which provides means support for the physically and mentally handicapped, and Guiding in Spelthorne.
ABOUT a year ago, I wrote a piece about the invasion of the lower reaches of the Thames by Chinese mitten crabs – which elicited several emails from people who’d seen these pests. I’m keen to find out whether they are still moving upriver and I’d been delighted to hear from any readers who have seen one or more of these unwelcome visitors.