The Thames Traditional Boat Rally has been relaunched for 2015 with a promise of a bigger and better event than in recent years.

It follows the cancellation of last year's rally following the floods and the retirement after 20 years’ service of the chairman, president and several committee members.

The new event has been renamed The Traditional Boat Festival to reflect the broader range of attractions aimed at creating  an "enhanced  entertaining experience for visitors and traditional boat owners alike."

Planning is in the hands of a new organising committee and Lady Judy McAlpine, a professional event organiser, has joined as president.

This year’s event will take place on July 18th and 19th at Fawley Meadows, Henley on Thames, venue of recent rallies.

The site has been expanded to provide room for enhanced catering facilities and an increased range of land exhibits, including over 100 classic and vintage vehicles, military land and amphibious vehicles, a bigger range of trade exhibitors, more musical entertainment  and enhanced attractions for children.

As before there will be one of the biggest displays of traditional boats in Europe plus a full programme of on-the-water activities, including sail pasts and displays.

The 75th anniversary of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain will be celebrated by the fleet of Dunkirk Little Ships, as well as the military vehicles on land and flypasts from classic aircraft. 

There will also be opportunities to go aboard some of the participating boats and the Thames Traditional Boat Society will be offering the chance to ‘have a go’ in traditional rowing skiffs and canoes.

 The 1883 passenger steamer ‘Alaska’ will be offering trips on both days and the first steam umpire’s launch 1898 ‘Consuta’ will be offering trips on Sunday.

A festival spokmesman said: "We have some special surprises planned with many beautiful, exciting, weird and wonderful (and very fast) boats planned to attend and display."

Tickets will be available on-line at a discounted rate from 30th March.

River Thames News will be reporting more details as they are released over the next few months.

Link to Thames Traditional Boat Festival website.

Story dated February 9th 2015