TWO Olympians will be among those watching from the sidelines as one of the biggest events in the North-East calendar returns for a bumper event.

Around 600 crews made up of 1,000 rowers are expected to compete in more than 200 races at this year’s Durham Regatta, which takes place over two days this weekend.

Durham Olympians Jess Eddie, who learned to row with Durham Amateur Rowing Club and won silver with the GB women’s eight at Rio last year, and Nathanial Reilly-O’Donnell, who went to St Leonard’s School, will be among those cheering from the riverbanks, with the pair also lined up to hand out the prizes on Sunday.

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This year’s event will see a bigger line-up of entertainment as a bid to provide entertainment for the whole family.

The event, which is the second oldest regatta in the country, will see a new format for one of the days, with individual rowers ranked to try and create more even match-ups between crews.

Andy Jaggard, one of the organisers, said: "We've got a lot of attractions and free entertainment. We have the classic cars as usual and a whole selection of bands but we're also bringing in comedy acts and wandering theatre companies and puppet acts so there's going to be lots for people to do.

"We know we've got two distinct audiences - the rowers and the people who just want a good day out and we're trying to cater for both."

The event, which is the second oldest regatta in the country, will see a new format for one of the days, with individual rowers ranked to try and create more even match-ups between crews.

Mr Jaggard added: "We still want to keep a broad range of people from novice crews right up but at the top end we're trying to ensure some really top quality races.

"We have a massive entry with crews from all over the North-East and further afield."

Results from the day will be put online immediately thanks to the regatta's new website, which was designed by Durham start-up Concision as part of a sponsorship deal.

Parking for the event will be available on the rugby field next to Durham Amateur Rowing Club and on the football field off Green Lane. Charges are £2 per day or £5 for Friday to Sunday.

The regatta enclosure is open between 8am and 8pm each day. Entre is £3 for adults. £1.50 for over 65s and children aged beteen five and 16 and £8 for a family ticket.

For full details visit www.durham-regatta.org.uk