Milestone was marked with fun out on the water

Herbert Woods holding their official 90th birthday party, with a summer fete and 'water frolic' at t

Herbert Woods holding their official 90th birthday party, with a summer fete and 'water frolic' at their Potter Heigham base.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

To celebrate one of the big names of the Broads, a fun-filled fete and regatta was held in Potter Heigham.

Herbert Woods, a long-established broads boating company, threw the bash to mark the company's 90th birthday – with the theme of water frolics and racing.

The milestone day marks 90 years since Herbert Woods built his first cruiser, the Speed of Light. He would later take over his father's boat-building business Walter Woods & Sons.

Determined to build a new style of boat suited to narrow rivers and shallow Broads, he produced so-called 'light' cruisers, which are still used today.

Soon after taking on the business, Mr Woods began the arduous task of digging acres of marshland to form the Broads Haven marina. The project saw 60,000 tons of clay removed – and it took until the mid-1930s to complete.

He later built the now well-known Herbert Woods tower to house a water tank, which became a look-out post with machine guns when the Second World War broke out.

During the conflict, Herbert Woods took on work for The Admiralty and Air Ministry, employing more than 300 staff and building more than 200 vessels, including Motor Torpedo Boats and Harbour Defence Motor Launches.

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The hire cruiser fleet was moored across Hickling and Wroxham Broads to deter enemy flying boats from landing.

Since Mr Woods died in 1954, the business has been owned by various organisations.

Remembering all the history yesterday, party-goers at the free event were treated to a backdrop of music from Stalham Brass Band, and had lots to look at on the craft and gardening stalls.

Out on the water others enjoyed trips out on board Herbert Woods' cruiser Spark of Light.

And for the more competitive there was stand-up paddle boarding, canoe and dingy sailing races, making your own raft and racing it, edible boat racing and a rubber duck race.

Proceeds from the day were donated to Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue.