Town council continuing talks over possible Sidmouth regatta week in 2021

Sidmouth Regatta 2018. Picture: Simon Horn

Sidmouth Regatta 2018. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Picture: Simon Horn

Sidmouth Town Council is looking to speak to groups within the town a bid to resume the town’s regatta celebrations in 2021.

The Herald reported in May that the 2020 Sidmouth Regatta had been cancelled and that Oliver Salter and Keith Knight were looking to step down from the organising committee.

Both have been involved with the annual event for three decades.

At a meeting of the town council’s tourism committee, Cllr Louise Cole reported that the former long-standing regatta committee had resigned and had tried to encourage others to take over but with no positive response to date.

The town council already organises the air show, usually featuring the Red Arrow flyover, and it was suggested it could contact groups and organisations in the town in a bid to set up a week of events in the days preceding it.

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Speaking after the meeting, town council chairman Ian Barlow said it would be nice to have some events which ‘celebrate everything great about Sidmouth’.

He said: “The town council thinks it would be a shame if the regatta didn’t happen.

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“We are looking to pull together groups so that perhaps it could continue but in a different way than it has before.

“The regatta is a fairly big event, we take care of the Red Arrows, which is part of it, and the sailing club put on the other events.

“We will be speaking to other groups and clubs in the area.”

The annual event which takes place in August usually features raft racing, three-legged races, face painting and a grand firework display.

The minutes of the tourism committee said that an organiser/coordinator would need to be found but the new festival could promote Sidmouth’s role as a Fair Trade and plastic-free town.

Speaking in May, Mr Salter said uncertainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic meant they had to cancel the regatta for 2020.

He said that, with the lack of an organising body, he and Mr Knight felt it is appropriate that the 2020 regatta was cancelled.

Mr Salter added: “We would hope that a new committee could be formed to organise the event for a relaunch in 2021.”

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