row4 startWhere it all began …….. The year 2000

After every Regatta day, comments like ‘if only the rowing races were longer’ or ‘it’s not fair, so-and-so crashed into me’. But it’s never possible on one tide to make many changes to the format of the Regatta, so ….

There had been a rowing race around Northey Island years before and rowing races and ideas became a topic of conversation over a bevy in the pub, so…..

Along with a small team, we resurrected the race, but with a different format. An event purely about giving something back to charities who affected our village and community, the people with whom we live. The two charities chosen in the first year were St Clare’s Hospice and Essex Air Ambulance. Their respective services were invaluable.

The first race was definitely a learning curve! We endeavoured to make it a fun day for rowers and spectators alike with colourful lockside stalls offering home made goodies as well as inviting other local charity stalls. The Essex Wildlife Trust and the RNLI were amongst them.

17 rowers took part in 2000 and we raised, what we thought then a fantastic amount, £2,500, divided between the two charities.

In 2001 the charities chosen were Essex Air Ambulance and British Heart Foundation. Again, charities dear to our hearts. The team worked hard to build and improve on the first year. The word had obviously spread and 24 boats took part.

Our village embraces this event and I believe nearly everyone helps in one way or another. Expenditure is kept to a minimum and to date we have been extremely lucky and are always astounded by peoples’ generosity for our cause. The team work hard to get everything donated or volunteered, so that the money raised benefits our chosen charities and ultimately our community.

Now we move on….

Since the early days, Row4aReason has gathered momentum and has raised in excess of £160,000 over those years.

We hold a monthly quiz, tombola and raffle in the Jolly Sailor all year round, and several other events are organised by Vicky to fund raise.

The Basin Oars, our local Ladies Rowing Team having sponsored us over the years by donating the proceeds of their Annual Dog Show which has helped enormously with our fund raising. We thank them all.

Our sponsors, we are tremendously grateful for their continued support.

In 2014, Essex Air Ambulance were again the recipients. St George’s Chapel in the Basin was finally renovated with the help of our donation and the hall is now being used by the community.

This year, 2016 we are supporting Farleigh Hospice, St George’s and Heybridge Basin Community Fund, Dog Rehoming – all very much part of our lives here, and in some ways, part of many lives outside Heybridge Basin.

We have kept to the original plan, and offer craft stalls, BBQ, two wonderful pubs, Wilkinson Tea Rooms, and on the day, The Sound Collective Pop choir will make their third appearance at our event.

We look forward to another successful year, but we will always need your help to do so. We look forward to celebrating this event with you.

Christine Oatham, Co-ordinator R4R