Vintage Kingston: Surbiton Festival kicked off with a boat rally 10 years ago (From This Is Local London)
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Vintage Kingston: Surbiton Festival kicked off with a boat rally 10 years ago
5:00am Sunday 29th September 2013 in News
From September 26, 2003
Thousands of people enjoyed two days of nautical fun and some late summer sun at the RNLI boat rally in Surbiton 10 years ago this week.
More than 80 boats took part in the event, at Queen’s Promenade, which launched the week-long Surbiton Festival.
Boat owners, enthusiasts and residents tucked into barbecue food and picnic hampers on the banks of the river, while a flotilla of unusual craft sailed by.
Ten boats from the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships motored by on Saturday afternoon, followed by the boats of special interest.
One of these was a jolly boat from the Royal Yacht Britannia.
But the only “royalty” to use the boat over the weekend were mayor Councillor Dennis Doe and deputy mayor Janet Bowen-Hitchings, who surveyed the fleet from it.
Saturday evening saw the much-anticipated illuminated sail-past, with 25 glittering boats travelling from Kingston Bridge all the way to Hart’s Boatyard in Portsmouth Road.
Surbiton Festival organiser Nick Winckless took part in the sail-past. He said: “Everyone said it looked great from the bank.
“You could hear people clapping and cheering, which gives a real encouragement to those who had made the effort to go out there.
“Some of the boats had really gone to town.”
The boats and charity stalls returned on Sunday with a rescue demonstration from the Tedding RNLI lifeboat crew – arguably the highlight of the day.
Members of the lifeboat crew rescued a volunteer victim from a smoking boat and got him safely to a waiting St John Ambulance.
The rally was organised to raise funds for the RNLI.
The event went so well it was decided to hold another one the following year.
“It was all a very jolly weekend,” reflected Mr Winckless.
Back in the present, this year’s bumper Surbiton Festival included an RNLI rally which took place on Sunday.
Got memories of the borough you want to share? Email newsdesk@surrey comet.co.uk.
50 YEARS AGO: September 25, 1963
The Malden and Coombe civil defence unit was given a test of its response time. Two-fifths of the unit’s 120 members were assembled in the street 35 minutes after the alert at 8.15am on a Sunday morning. The test checked the unit’s readiness for civil disasters such as floods.
25 YEARS AGO: September 30, 1988
Kingston’s RSPCA branch joined a campaign to collect towels, to save baby seals threatened by a virus. The towels were sent to an emergency seal assessment unit in Norfolk. RSPCA chief Ron Kirkby asked anyone with spare, clean towels to donate them to wrap the stricken seals.
10 YEARS AGO: September 26, 2003
A tree that withstood a World War II bomb which destroyed a block of flats crushed garages when it was blown over by high winds. The copper beech, in Uxbridge Road, was thought to be 300 years old. Gusts in Kingston reached 50mph, according to the Met Office.
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