STOURPORT is braced for huge numbers of people to descend on the town and watch the annual festival of rowing this weekend.

With over 600 crews competing in 130 races along the Severn, the annual two-day Stourport Boat Club Regatta and Sprint is one of the country’s biggest rowing events.

Among the action set to attract the crowds to Wyre Forest will be single and double sculls, quads, fours and eights who will all battle it out along the 1,000 metre course, with competitors coming from all over the UK and from other countries.

Club president Pete Lashford said: “Stourport has a big reputation for hosting one of the leading UK regattas, and the level of competition will be at its highest throughout the weekend.”

Local rivals Bewdley, Bridgnorth, Worcester and Ross-on-Wye will be sending crews and there will also be a large contingent from London-based Quintin RC, which always boasts an international make-up to their rowers.

The highlight could be on Saturday afternoon when crews battle it out in the 500m sprints for a first prize of £360.

Stourport’s men’s eight will be aiming to repeat their success in Bewdley Regatta’s sprints a fortnight ago.

They pipped a Worcester boat who had beaten them to the final at Henley, so both teams will be aiming to get the better of their rivals.

The first Stourport Regatta was held in 1876, and was organised by Mr W Dorsett, JP, and an influential committee comprising JC Rogers, J Stringer, Stanley Baldwin, Enoch Baldwin and C Harrison.

A fund of £80 was raised, handsome prize sums were offered and invitations were sent to many of the best rowing clubs of the day, as well as to the regatta’s neighbours at Worcester, Tewkesbury, Evesham and Bewdley.

Racing is from 8.30am to late afternoon. Spectators welcome, with food and drink available.