Have you been part of this sailing club over its 40 years?
- Credit: SESCA
Inland Suffolk may not be well-known for its sailing opportunities - but one club has stood the test of time and is now a "flourishing" water sports centre.
What began as the brainchild of the sailing section of the Greene King Sports & Social Club in the late 1970s has been built up into the thriving St Edmundsbury Sailing & Canoeing Association (SESCA), based at Lackford Lake, near Bury St Edmunds.
Established at a flooded gravel pit, the club was officially founded in 1981 with financial assistance from Bury St Edmunds Rotary, the St Edmundsbury Yachting Association and Bury St Edmunds Council.
Mike Steele, from the club, said: "Since then, the club has been built up through the vision, perseverance and efforts of its members and the assistance of St Edmundsbury Borough Council (now West Suffolk Council) and other benefactors to become the flourishing water sports centre that it is today."
It now has more than 240 active members and provides the water sports facilities for the Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Mildenhall Sea Cadets, Suffolk Scouts, WASH disabled sailing, Young People Afloat (a sailing youth club), RAF Honington Kayak Club, Priory School and Culford School.
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It describes itself as a "friendly, family club for dinghy sailors, canoeists and sailboarders of all ages" - the only sailing club in west Suffolk.
Members celebrated the club’s 40th anniversary at the lake on Sunday, August 8, with the running of its 8th Antigua Sailing Day Regatta, which was sponsored by Greene King and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
Members and the current Commodore, Norman Savigar, welcomed back several of the founder members and past Commodores, including Barry Southwold, Alan Turvey, Guy Forkes, Margaret Gardiner, Ian Ferguson and Carl Day, who have contributed so much to the success of the club, Mr Steele said.
Mr Steele explained the association with the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority came about, eight years ago as a result of the club holding a fun event to coincide and celebrate Antigua Sailing Week.
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Reports of the event came to the attention of the tourism authority who were so impressed with the initiative that they came onboard as event sponsors and have been supporting the regatta ever since.
Mr Steele added: "Competitors were welcomed by gusty and shifty conditions, which proved challenging and provided some entertaining viewing for the spectators onshore."
The open event was won by Sam and Margot Parrett sailing a Wanderer, with Mr Steele second in a Laser, and Jon and Nate Senior third in another Wanderer.
The junior event was won by Bertie Parrett in his Optimist. Bertie also came fifth in the open event.
Prizes for the racing, treasure hunt and fancy dress competition were supplied and awarded by Cherrie Osborne, director of tourism for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
A steel pan band gave a Caribbean flavour to the celebrations.
It is hoped that Antigua Sailing Week, which was cancelled this year due to the Covid pandemic will be held from April 30 to May 6, 2022.