Wednesday 14th June 2017
The river was brought to life with bell boating, accessible sailing and powerboating, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. We were thrilled to welcome over 300 young people with a wide range of disabilities and special needs to try out sports, many of which they could never access before. In the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, who launched the bell boating competition, and a number of Paralympians and Olympians the event brought smiles to everyone’s faces. On the land, participants could try a whole host of indoor and outdoor activities ranging from boccia and wheelchair basketball to cycling, football, rugby and air weapons.
Pupils from over 20 Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire schools were cheered on by Paralympic medallists Anne Dickins MBE, Jeannette Chippington MBE and Naomi Richies MBE and Olympic medallists Dame Katherine Grainger DBE and Steve Williams OBE. Aspiring champions Rob Sargent and Georgia Carmichael also came to show support and help motivate the young people to develop a long-term involvement with accessible sports.
Simon Davis, Rivertime Boat Trust Co-founder and Chairman says: “We are overjoyed by the feedback we have received from the participants of the first Rivertime Accessible Regatta. We have been planning the event for over a year and seeing all the children having such a fantastic time was a crowning achievement for everyone involved, from our kind volunteers to all the partners who helped run the activities. Having so many young people in one place at one time trying out something new filled us with such energy and determination to make next year’s Regatta even bigger and better.”
Dame Katherine Grainger, Olympic Gold medallist and the new Chair of UK Sport says: “It is vital to set up initiatives like this where suddenly young people get the chance to try out various sports they might not have got otherwise and sports should be available to as many people as possible. Visiting the Rivertime Accessible Regatta, I have realised just how many children an event like this can reach and I hope it will continue to grow and go on because I believe that we should do our best to make sports accessible to all.”
Anne Wadsworth, Give Them a Sporting Chance Trustee says: “We are delighted that so many young people took part in this wonderful event. Seeing them having what some described as the best day of their life is exactly what we hoped for.