Thousands enjoy city's big day

The Northern Echo: Hatfield College rowing eight leads University College at St Cuthbert's launching stage Hatfield College rowing eight leads University College at St Cuthbert's launching stage

RECORDS tumbled on and off the water at the 174th Durham Regatta, at the weekend. More crews than ever before competed in the two-day regatta, with several setting new records on the event's longer 1800m course.

Meanwhile, more spectators than ever lined the banks of the River Wear to take it all in. The regatta is known as 'the Henley of the North' but pre-dates the Royal event by five years. This year there were more than 500 races, averaging one every two-and-a-half minutes, over the two days. Sunny and calm conditions made racing conditions perfect and brought visitors out in their droves.

At least 10,000 paid to watch Saturday's action, with an estimated further 6,000 attending on Sunday.

On the river, it was a good weekend for Durham Amateur Rowing Club, whose members won at least five races on Saturday alone. The club's wins included the elite women's coxless fours, for which they teamed up with Tyne RC to clinch the Archibald Trophy. The Whitbread Challenge Cup was won by Tyne RC and the Geoff Clack Trophy went to Yarm School.

Regatta committee chairman John Bell said: "We think records have been broken in terms of attendance and times. This year's regatta has been quite unique with Durham University holding a banquet on the Saturday night and the Illuminate festival and its fireworks. The rowing has been of an exceptionally high standard and it's very pleasing to see so many people watching."

The regatta attracts students, rowing enthusiasts and the general public, and dates back to 1834. It is the second oldest in the country, with only Chester having a longer tradition.

This year's event was sponsored by Camerons Brewery and Hargreaves and, as well as the racing, included entertainment from brass bands, a miniature railway and a vintage car rally.

The winners were presented with their trophies by Durham's Deputy Mayor, Grenville Holland, on Sunday night during a ceremony at Caedmon Hall, College of St Hild and St Bede.

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