Beccles and Bungay battle it out in rowing challenge

Community pride was at stake this morning as two rival north Suffolk towns locked oars in an annual rowing challenge.

The sixth Beccles versus Bungay boat race saw teams of rowing novices from both towns compete with each other over a 1,000m stretch of the River Waveney at Beccles.

This morning's hotly-contested clash saw the blue Bungay team clinch the title of best rowing team – making it four wins out six since the event was launched.

Starting at Boathouse Hill the teams were neck to neck right until the final stretch of the race, which finished at Beccles Quay.

But the last stage saw the Bungay team take a length-long lead to win the race, which was watched by spectators on the riverside and on the main bridge in Beccles.

Both teams were made up of three rowing race novices, who had only taken up oars since February under the guidance of the Beccles Rowing Club

The winning team comprised a jubilant Helen Ford, 37, Rob Cannell, 31 and Emily King, 37, whose son Billy, 12, is a member of the rowing club and was coxswain of her boat.

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Billy said: 'It was an exciting race. I did like ordering my mum around during the race.'

The gallant red losers were made up of Blake Thompson, 32, and Richard and Carolyn Salisbury, of Loddon. Their coxswain was Imogen Beedham, 20.

Each team also had a club member on the oars – Will Loftus, 17, helping the Bungay side to victory, while Ros McIntyre, 32, joined the losing side.

The medals and trophy were handed out by Beccles Town councillor Stephanie Bubb.

The boat race was set up to drum up interest in the Beccles Rowing Club which has more than a dozen members and plans to organise a children's boat race ahead of the Olympics.

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