It is with the deepest of regret that we have decided to cancel this year’s Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta.
When we wrote to friends and supporters at the end of April, we were hopeful that leaving the decision until the end of May might allow us to respond to better news. After all, much of the preparation for this year’s event has already been done and with shorter organisational lead-times than some, we are in a position to respond to prevailing circumstances more quickly.
Sadly, that was not to be. Current Government guidelines suggest the need for social distancing will continue well past the Regatta’s scheduled date of Friday 7th & Saturday 8th August, and that mass gatherings will not be permitted until the autumn at the earliest, if at all for the rest of 2020.
River-wise, advices from the Environment Agency confirm this thinking. Limited use of the river is increasingly being allowed, provided the rules on social distancing are applied. However, this does not include competitive sport, most especially where shared equipment is required – indeed, British Rowing has extended its ban on competition until the end of July and fully expects it to extend at least until the end of August.
There’s more. As an open-access riverside event, it would be all but impossible for us to ensure that social distancing be maintained at all times in the Regatta Enclosure.
In making this decision, we have also undertaken a wide-reaching financial analysis. This confirmed that any other decision in these troubled times could expose the Regatta to an unacceptable level of risk to the medium/longer term health of the event.
Above all though, the need to prioritise the health and safety of our subscribers, competitors, spectators, staff, contractors, suppliers and volunteers has been our primary concern. We remain keenly aware of wider public health implications and our responsibility to support society’s efforts to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Accordingly, our rafts, our boats and our best intentions will be given an extended rest until the summer of 2021 when we will be back in full force! Indeed, plans for this are already under way …
Of course, these plans will necessarily focus on cost savings and overcoming a loss of income from not staging the Regatta in 2020. Like any charity, we have significant annual fixed costs that need to be met including boat and equipment storage, boat maintenance and insurance, and we depend on the year-on-year support of the WSR community to meet these costs.
With this in mind, several of the Regatta’s friends and well-wishers have expressed a wish to continue to support the Regatta this year, despite being unable to enjoy the weekend’s events on the riverbank. We appreciate only too well the pressures that we – as individuals, organisations and charities most especially – are under. However, if you felt able to share this view, such support would be very gratefully received. Two options are available:
- Subscribing in the normal manner, for which Gift Aid is available to both you and the Regatta. This can be done via cheque or bank transfer. Full details on our here.
- Joining the Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta ‘150th Anniversary Club’. 25% of funds raised each quarter go to members as prizes, with 75% retained as funds towards staging Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta. Details can also be found on our here.
Though regrettable, we feel sure you will agree that our decision to cancel this year’s Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta is the right course of action at such an uncertain time. In doing so, the Committee wishes to express its thanks and deepest respect for the heroic efforts of health workers and those working so hard to help us through these difficult times.
We look forward to seeing you, your family and friends on the riverbank once again on Friday 6th & Saturday 7th August 2021.
The Committee of Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta
21st May 2020