Flotilla to arrive in Suffolk this summer - and you can take part

The 2019 flotilla setting off from Aldeburgh Yacht Club 

The 2019 flotilla setting off from Aldeburgh Yacht Club - Credit: Gill Moon

A flotilla is to head down a Suffolk River later this summer to raise money to help protect areas of the county from flooding.  

The Alde & Ore Estuary Trust is organising a second summer flotilla as part of its Save Our Suffolk Estuary fundraising campaign and is encouraging the river-­loving community to get involved. 

On Sunday July 4, participants can either swim, kayak, row, canoe, or paddleboard from Aldeburgh Yacht Club and make their way almost five miles down the estuary to Orford Sailing Club. 

An elite class for those who are used to swimming three or more miles comfortably in open water will be timed and set off first, followed by the recreational swimmers who are expected to take around two hours to complete the course. 

Jane Maxim, chairman of the Trust’s Funding Strategy Group said: “This 4th July we hope to raise more funds to support the upgrading of our local river defences and improve the habitat for animals such as water voles who live in the ditches behind the walls.  

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“This year we are increasing the number of people who can take part, as well as lowering the age limit so children over 12 can get involved, making it a very special community event. Our inaugural flotilla in 2019 was a huge success, raising over £24,000. 

“In addition to this year’s entry fee, we are asking participants to raise as much as they can by individual sponsorship, ideally £100 per person, to increase support for this hugely important estuary defence work.” 

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A detailed, costed programme of works by the East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board shows £26.9 million is needed to upgrade the river defences throughout the Alde and Ore Estuary over the next six to eight years, with £12m to be raised through voluntary donations from the local community, applications to charitable foundations and the support received from local businesses. 

There are a limited number of places in each class – elite swimmers, recreational swimmers, and the fleet of non-­ swimmers - the trust is urging anyone keen to be involved to sign up as soon as possible. Entry costs £50 for swimmers aged 16 years and over and £40 for paddlers 12 years to 16.

Those wishing to enter the flotilla visit the trust’s website.

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