Rowing club launches new maritime festival

The rowing boat with community rowing club group members.
The rowing boat with community rowing club group members.

A county rowing club has launched a new festival aimed at showcasing Blyth’s proud maritime history.

Blyth Community Rowing Club has launched the Blyth Maritime Festival, which will take place on July 19 and 20.

The two day event will showcase the town’s history as ‘Northumberland’s Premier Port’ with a wide range of attractions and displays.

At 10am on the Saturday a specially built rowing boat will be paraded through the centre of Blyth to the Quayside, where it will be launched on its arrival.

It will be accompanied by a marching jazz band and the children of Croftway Academy, who designed its colour scheme and came up with the boat’s name, Crofton.

The boat was built within the Keel Row shopping centre by members of the Community Rowing Club, who will take it for its maiden voyage on the river.

Prior to its launch, the rowing boat will be blessed by the vicar of St Cuthbert’s Church in Blyth, Rev Steve McMahon.

Steve Bradley, chairman of the Blyth Town Team, who have helped organise the Maritime Festival, said: “The idea behind the project was to bring together the people of Blyth to build a boat and form a community rowing club for the town.

“Funding has come from Olympic Legacy money and with the guidance of Blyth Town Council, the Royal Northumberland Yacht club and the Port of Blyth we are sure that the club and overall Maritime Festival will be a huge success.

“It’s been an amazing project to be involved with and personally I can’t thank the Keel Row Shopping Centre enough for allowing us to build it in full view of the public.

“The fact that it’s been built by the community and all the hard work will culminate in a parade down to the river as the highlight of the Maritime event will be something that the whole town can be proud of.”

Other activities will take place actually on the river itself including boat and kayak races, and a yacht and dinghy parade of sail, organised by the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club.

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