THE North’s most prestigious rowing event attracted thousands of people to a city’s riverbanks at the weekend.

Set against the stunning backdrop of a world heritage site, Durham Regatta was founded in 1834 and is the second oldest regatta in the UK, predating Henley by five years.

It is one of the biggest events on the rowing calendar and this year’s regatta did not disappoint, delivering two action-packed days of exhilarating racing on the River Wear.

Dr Nigel Van Zwanenberg, chairman of Durham Regatta, said the standard of rowing was incredibly high, adding: “In the North of England Durham is the premiere rowing event of the year.

“It is the highest level of competition in this part of the country. Those who perform well in our senior races tend to go on to race at Henley and do well there too.”

The races were certainly the focus of the event but there was a lot of other entertainment of offer on the riverbank on Saturday and Sunday.

Highlights included magician Paul Dewhurst, Brian and Marilyn Llewellyn’s Punch and Judy show, face painting, and street theatre duo Bell and Bullock who delighted spectators with with their walkabout shows and comedy.

There was also an Army Cadets climbing show, an inflatable assault course, Jesse Ward the Bubbleologist, fairground rides, food stalls, a classic car rally and live music, from local bands including Pittington Brass.

Dr Van Zwanenberg said: “It has been a great weekend. The racing has gone well and the entertainment on the riverbank was excellent.

“It was really nice to see everyone having a good time. I’m sure our event sponsors, Prestige Student Living, will be very happy.”

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