The Runnymede Rivers and Waterways Celebration was launched by the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Iftikhar Chaudhri at Chertsey Museum on 24th March. During his address the museum curator, Emma Warren, mentioned Chertsey and Shepperton Regatta and Egham Regatta, the two local regattas which both have a long history and to illustrate this fact there was a display of memorabilia from Egham Regatta. Egham Regatta started in 1909 and was first held on the reach above Bell Lock where it is still held today. At the very first Egham Regatta there were races for rowing, punting, canoeing and swimming, entertainment was provided by the Egham and Englefield Green Public Brass Band and large crowds thronged the river bank by Randalls Varnish Works.
Egham Regatta is to this day a very popular regatta that has even attracted crews from overseas. It still takes place over the traditional 650 metre course from upstream of Bell Weir Lock next to the Runnymede On Thames Hotel, to the finish adjacent to Wraysbury Skiff and Punting Club. This year the Egham Regatta starts at 8.30am on Sunday 1st July 2018.
Over the years local companies and other supporters have donated various trophies to be awarded to winning rowers. These days all winners receive a tankard and the handsome Silver Rose Bowl is presented to the Victor Ludorum, the school or club winning the most races on the day.
Howard Lawes, Secretary for the Egham Regatta exhibited a small display of trophies, programmes and documents associated with the regatta and said “These memorabilia provide an interesting insight into the fascinating history and development of Egham Regatta into what is now one of the largest sporting events in the Borough of Runnymede”.
The two world wars stopped the Egham Regatta and it only re-commenced on a regular basis in 1955. By 1978 skiffing and punting was reintroduced as the Egham Regatta Association was now largely formed of members of the nearby Wraysbury Skiff & Punting Club (WSPC) who continue to host the event to this day. Until very recently Egham Regatta has been the only regatta in the country that still provides racing events for rowing, skiffing and punting. However the huge growth in popularity of rowing following British success for both men and women at Olympic Games has meant that this year’s regatta will have rowing races only, but in excess of 200 races on the day. WSPC will continue to host skiffing and punting regattas at other times.
Find out more: eghamregatta.org.uk