By Rob George 29/06 Updated: 29/06 14:52
DROITWICH came alive once again last weekend with the first annual combined Summer Festival at venues across the town.
Following the success of last year’s canal re-opening, organisers put together a packed programme of events to mark the start of the popular Music and Arts Festival fortnight.
And boat-lovers were not deterred despite amber and red flood alerts on the River Severn which forced the closure of the Diglis and Hawford Locks.
The closures meant many boats which planned to be in the town for the boat gathering were unable to do so while a number who had only intended to travel through the Spa were trapped for the whole weekend.
But despite the bad news, boaters who were on the town's historic canals made the best of the situation and lavished praise on the Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) trust for organising the boat gathering.
A few of the boats took part in the boat steering competition and joined locals and visitors to sample the entertainment provided in the Vines Park marquee.
Coun Pam Davey, chairman of Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust, said: "We very much appreciated all the hard work put into this event.
"John Dudley did a fantastic job and produced a range of talented acts from Friday night to Sunday night. He was backed up by
trust volunteers, Craig Bourne and his team and the tireless Janet Yates, Droitwich's Area Partnership manager," she added.
The gathering also featured trade and charity stalls, boat trips and activities and on Sunday there were activities in Vines Park such as a climbing wall, canoeing, battle zone, scavenger hunt, circus skills and guided walks.
Competitors in the boat steering event took it in turns to perform a three point turn in the barge lock basin in the shortest time possible without hitting the banks.
The winning boat was 'Autumn Years' whose owners Richard and Cathy Facer had travelled from Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire while 'Dire Straits' owned by Jenn and Jim Thornell finished second.
Coun Davey, said: "This activity was enjoyed by both those taking part and the many spectators, congratulations to Richard and Cathy and all those who took part.
"Thanks go to Alan Davey and his assistants and also to our harbour master Tom Pedlow for their help," she added.
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