Mud, mud, glorious mud!

ROLLING around in mud may not be everyone's idea of good fun, but for dozens of Manningtree residents mud was the star attraction.

Roddy Ashworth

ROLLING around in mud may not be everyone's idea of good fun, but for dozens of Manningtree residents mud was the star attraction.

Hundreds of people took to the waterfront in Manningtree at the weekend for the town's annual regatta.

Highlights of the event included fireworks, races and muddy challenges as well as music from local bands.


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On Saturday, between 20 and 30 boats took part in a two hour pursuit race, in which vessels of all classes were allowed, and given staggered starts according to their speed.

There was also a punt race - a local tradition for the regatta - in which four flat-bottomed gun punts, also known as wildfowling or duck punts and steered by oars rather than rudders, competed.

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Later in the evening there was a club dance, with music from the South Street Band, and a 10-15 minute firework display, which attracted spectators from all over the area.

Yesterday morning four mud races across the Stour were held - one each for men, women, girls and boys.

There were also tug of war competitions, in which the mens' contest was won by a team from Haven Port, while the womens' was won by the Tendring Water Babes.

A number of children's races were held on the sand, including a sack race and an egg and spoon race, while entertainment for youngsters was provided by comic juggler Dr Ken.

Later, there were three skiff races, with teams from Manningtree, Holbrook and Walton on the Naze, and a raft race for two crews of children.

The regatta - run by the Stour Sailing Club - was also visited by a Thames sailing barge, the 1895 Ipswich-built Victor, which visitors were able to board.

Yesterday the club's rear commodore, Mal Bezant, said: “It was good to have the Victor here because we haven't had a barge at the regatta for a long time, and there is a long tradition of barges on this river.

“It has been a fantastic weekend - we had a lovely day on the Saturday, with a huge crowd on the beach watching things going on and having lots of fun.

“The regatta is always a big event for the club and a big event for the town.”

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