Wild swim and mayor’s water race to feature in Charter Weekend celebrations

Beccles Charter Weekend organisers gather for a photo at the Hungate Church.Picture: Nick Butcher

Beccles Charter Weekend organisers gather for a photo at the Hungate Church.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Final preparations are under way for a weekend of events celebrating Beccles’ historical charter.

Showcasing all that the town has to offer, Charter Weekend will take place on June 30 and July 1 with historic boats and river trips, exhibitions, open gardens, music, special displays and more.

The event, now in its fifth year, is held annually to mark the granting of the town’s historic charter by Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1584.

For the first time this year, the Waveney Wild Swim will be staged to tie in with the celebration on Sunday, July 1, with swimmers setting off from the Waveney River Centre, in Burgh St Peter, and swimming down the river for about 11.5km to Beccles Quay.

There will also be a Mayor’s Race the same day from 11am at Hippersons Boatyard which will see current mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw and former mayors Caroline Topping and Hugh Taylor ‘racing’ on water bicycles, one of which will be an historic model dating from the 1930s.

One of the many attractions at Hippersons Boatyard will be the historic wherry ‘Maud’ which will be hosting readings by local author Chris Crowther on the Sunday at 2pm and 3.30pm and an on-board slide show at 4.30pm on the Saturday.

Hugh Taylor, one of the organisers of Charter Weekend, said: “During the weekend a number of gardens, courtyards and other spaces of interest in the town will be open to the public and this year’s event has a number of new participants, notably the Beccles Men’s Shed and the Beccles Fairtrade group, as well as groups such as the Waveney Stardust which have supported Charter Weekend from the very beginning.

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“Charter Weekend is intended to be a celebration of the town and during it visitors and residents alike are encouraged to visit some of its secret places and many attractions.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous will be visiting the event on Saturday, June 30, and will be travelling on the Waveney Stardust to St Peter’s House - one of the open gardens - where he will be met by the owners and shown around the garden.

Free parking and a shuttle bus to and from town will be available from Beccles Free School.

The full programme is available online at www.becclescharterweekend.wordpress.com