Canoeing enthusaists were up the Crouch with their paddles to put the Great Battlesbridge Canoe Race Firmly on the boating map. Skill and determination were on show as 150 paddlers from all over Essex descended on North Fambridge beach.
The race spanned two courses between Fambridge and Battlesbridge and was the second held on the river. Skee warehouse director Roy Hart organised the giant race from his Toad Hall, Battlesbridge, home. Experienced canoeists paddled a gruelling nine-mile course while others had six miles to struggle along. More than 500 people turned up to watch the fun but wet afternoon for the paddlers. Five rescue boats which stood by were not needed.
The rowers were not the only ones to get wet. The rope for the tug-of-war across the river between teams from North and South Essex broke on the First pull sending most of both teams into the water. A second pull with a makeshift rope saw North Essex the victors.
Mr Hart, who runs his business from the old Battlesbridge mill, said: “It was a great afternoon and I am confident we have now established the race. The idea came from reading about an annual event in Canada called Head of the River race. The river here is under-used and we thought this sort of race would do well.”
The day provided St Nicholas’ Church, Rawreth, with £150 towards repairs.
Results: The Skee-Tex Cup for fastest single canoe, Stephen Adams of Harlow; Battlesbridge Trophies for two-seater canoe, M. Adams and P. Bardon of Harlow; Battlesbridge Traders Cup novelty race, Peter Good and Gary Gilworth of Shoebury; Lord of Retten-don Cup slalom, John French, Bramerton Road, Hockley; Lady of Rettendon Cup for fastest woman home, Christine Everett of Bradwell.