Willow set to star in Beccles tribute to the Queen

As the small skiff Willow ploughs it way merrily along the River Waveney at Beccles it could easily be forgotten among many vessels that plough its waters.

But the 12ft skiff is not a boat to be easily ignored as she will soon be seen by millions of people worldwide when she features in a glorious tribute to the Queen.

The Willow will be one of about 1,000 boats and ships that will be taking part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, June 3.

She is the second smallest vessel taking part in the flotilla, which will see the enormous fleet of craft of all descriptions travel from upstream of Battersea Bridge to downriver of Tower Bridge.

The Willow's crew is made up of Beccles Rowing Club chairman Robin de Vere Green and club committee member Jon Benest-Bartram, who will man its oars while its owner Chris Twinch, of Rendham, near Saxmundham, will be its coxswain.

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During the Thames pageant the Queen will be in the Royal Barge The Spirit of Chartwell and the Willow's small crew will be raising their oars and giving three cheers on their journey.

And in an added boost to the rowers and coxswain, the Willow take a central role in the flotilla as she will be near the �1m Royal Barge Gloriana which will lead the vast flotilla.

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The Willow, a replica of a 19th century skiff, has been out several times on the River Waveney as it crew make adjustments.

She will be required to reach more than four knots on the Thames during the pageant and the crew are determined to hone their skills so they can maintain that speed.

For information of the Thames pageant visit www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org

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