Two local charities are to benefit from the return of festive paddles along a picturesque stretch of the River Stour.
The Santa Paddles will take place on a stretch of the river immortalised by artists such as Constable and Gainsborough between Sudbury and Great Henny.
Proceeds raised from the paddles will go to Sudbury transport charity Go START and to the Colchester Hospitals Charity. Collections for both will also be held on the day.
Hire boats on this stretch of the river were re-introduced this year following a successful trial period the previous summer. Historically, boats rowing boats for hire at the Boathouse site were a common feature. However, the boats disappeared more than 15 years ago when the Ballingdon Bridge was rebuilt.
Gordon Hardy of the Outdoor Hire Centre, which runs the event, said: “The festive paddles are fantastic fun. We introduced the event for the first time last year and it was such a success we are now hoping to make in an annual feature on the Sudbury social calendar.
“The paddles attract people from miles around so they are also good for the local economy. As it is the festive season we also felt it was only right to give something back to the community. We have chosen two beneficiaries, which we believe offer a tremendous amount of support to local people.”
The two paddles take place on December 11. The Santa Sing Along Paddle will see participants enjoy Christmas Carols as they paddle from The Rare Cow restaurant in Sudbury up to Cornard Lock and back.
Santa’s Paddle and Pub will be a fancy dress event where participants paddle from the Boathouse Restaurant site to the Henny Swan and back again after a well-deserved drink, with a bottle of bubbly for the best dressed family.
The events is also supported by the River Stour Boating CIC and Rushbanks Farm, which are supplying additional canoes for the paddles.