COMMUNITY events are always worth a mention in this column and there is a particularly good one coming up this weekend in the form of the Weybridge Thameside Festival, which takes place on Saturday.
The festival is being staged in support of the Sam Beare Hospice and other Weybridge Charities at Weybridge Waterfront.
Sponsored by local estate agents Churchods the festival is supported by many local sports clubs – particularly those who use the river in our area.
Weybridge Waterfront starts at the bottom of Thames Street, passes along the wide towpath to the Thames Path’s unique ferry across to Shepperton and ends with the council-owned Walton Lane open.
Over 30 stalls will be arranged facing stunning views across the river to D’Oyly Carte Island views and there will be live music and entertainments on the lawn. Up to 50 boats of all types – riverboats, narrow boats and barges will be moored on the improved landing stages from Friday lunchtime onwards.
Free boat rides from the rowing club and canoe club steps will encourage the public to ‘get afloat’ and access will be possible by free vintage bus rides from Weybridge Station with stops at the Library and Ship Inn. The festival will be open to the public on Saturday from 11am till 4pm with formal opening at noon.
One note – festival organisers are keen to point out that the Environment Agency works on the new moorings and ferry access will not get in the way.
Do try to get down there to give your support to a very worthwhile cause.
For more information, visit www.weybridgesociety.org.uk/Events.
ANOTHER event taking place this weekend is the annual parade of some of the Dunkirk Little Ships from Kingston to Weybridge Mariners.
The flotilla will be leaving Kingston at approximately 9.45am and will travel upstream passing through Molesey and Sunbury Locks before reaching the Weybridge Mariners’ base at around 1pm where veterans of the Second World War will be treated to lunch before being whisked back to Kingston aboard a fleet of historic vehicles.
Many of the little ships are actually moored on our stretch of the river and their present owners all take particular pride in looking after these historic craft that are, after all, part of our maritime heritage.
One of the best things about being aboard this flotilla is watching the reaction of the elderly gentlemen who actually fought during the Second World War to the enthusiastic support they get from onlookers on the banks of the river and at the locks.
If you have the chance, get down to the towpath along their route to give them a cheer and a wave – take a Union flag with you and wave it for all your worth as they go past. The men – and the little ships – performed extraordinary feats to ensure we stayed free.