KING’S Ely will be holding a high-profile spectator boat race on September 22, and members of the public are more than welcome to come and watch.

The school will be lining the banks of the 1km straight of the Great River Ouse, where current and former pupils will go head to head in a variety of categories.

Visitors will also get the chance to meet BBC and Olympic rowing commentator Dan Topolski, the former Oxford University coach, who will be officiating the races.

The last time such an event took place in Ely was in 2004, which marked the 60th anniversary of the year that Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Boat Race was held on the River Great Ouse in 1944. It was the only time the boat race has not been held on the River Thames in its 150 year history, as London was deemed too dangerous during the war.

King’s Ely’s regatta will start at around 2.30pm and will be followed by drinks at the Boathouse restaurant, which has kindly agreed to host a reception, where all spectators are welcome.

Head of King’s Ely Sue Freestone said: “The boat race will mark the end of a highly successful season for King’s Ely rowers.

“The school recently won the Ball Cup Regatta at Dorney Lake – the venue for the Olympics; we took gold and silver medals at the National Schools’ Regatta; a crew of girls made it to the semi-finals at the international women’s regatta at Henley and sculler Toby Rudkin (16) won a gold medal representing Great Britain in the single scull at the Great Britain vs France match in Gravelines on Sunday (15).”

She added: “We hope that residents of Ely and the surrounding villages will come and watch the race. If all goes well, it could become an annual event.”

Parking will be available on the school fields, which is within walking distance from the footpath where the race can be viewed from.

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