Saturday 8th June 2024

Report 2009

The 10th June 2009 edition of the Surrey Herald carried a four-page report on the 2009 regatta.
The main body of the report was written by Vicki Eltis. With her kind permission below is the content.


Hundreds of spectators took to the drizzly towpaths of the River Thames on Saturday for this year's Walton and Weybridge Regatta.

After last year's disappointment when the regatta was washed out by dangerous conditions, more than 430 competitors were eager to hit the water throughout the day to race along the 1,000-metre course from Walton Marine to Walton Rowing Club.

The fastest time of the day was in the eights race between Imperial College and St George's College, which Imperial College won in just two minutes and 50 seconds.

The next fastest race was only 11 seconds slower in an exciting coxed fours contest between Walton rowing club and St George's College with both crews determined not to lose. However the Walton rowers prevailed by two lengths.

Regatta committee member Clive Capel said: "It was a great day. It is very tough for competitors if it is hot with the sun beating down and dehydration is a major problem.

"As it was, the weather was good for rowers in that it was cool and slightly damp, although no doubt the spectators would have preferred a little more blue sky.

"My highlight of the day was the fastest eight race. The eights would normally be expected to have the fastest time but it was very impressive to see them coming down the course."

Results were available online via news-sharing site Twitter almost as they happened, and Brooklands FM also broadcast the events.

Once again, the Weybridge RC/Walton RC joint catering teams led by Sheila Owens and Emma Tomalin sold out of the last burgers and cakes just as the final race was being run, having been providing food all day.

Altogether £2,570 was made at the catering outlets and one-and-a-half kegs worth of Sundancer Ale was bought at Weybridge Rowing Club's real ale tent.

The Walton and Weybridge Regatta is self-funding with no financial assistance coming from local or national government. It exists to give rowers of all ages and abilities a chance to row competitively along one of the best stretches of river in the south of England. It has been run by a committee of volunteers who have been putting their time into preparations since October 2008.

Rowers pay tribute to a great oarsman and regatta president

During this year's regatta, members remembered a fellow rower who died on September 2008.

David Parry, a member of Walton Rowing club and chairman and president of the Walton and Weybridge Regatta, died of cancer of the pancreas aged 76.

It was the first regatta in many years without his presence.

In 1952, David won the Maiden fours, something he and his crew celebrated 50 years later by rowing over the course on the regatta day. He rowed with success at the highest levels, including at Henley Royal Regatta, where he also became a steward.

He maintained a close association with rowing at Walton throughout his life, both at the club and at the regatta.

Walton rowing Club member, John Burnett, said: "As chairman of the Regatta Committee he brought positive leadership and energy, as well a practical involvement. This very active participation scarcely reduced when he became president.

"After he stood down from this role, David would still be found on the day of the regatta ensuring the swans were kept clear of the racing.

"David was an outstanding figure, inspiring confidence and respect in all those who knew him."