Ahoy There! Charity puts forward its best strokes
to save Suffolk coast from flooding

ben Nichols Alde Estuary aerial.jpg

Suffolk based charity The Alde & Ore Estuary Trust are organising their inaugural summer flotilla as part of their Save Our Suffolk Estuary campaign and encouraging the local river-loving community to get involved.

Taking place on Sunday 28th July, participants are invited to either swim, kayak, row, canoe or paddle-board their way from Aldeburgh Yacht Club, making their way along seven kilometres down the estuary to Orford Sailing Club.

There will be two classes of swimmers in the flotilla.  An elite class, who are used to swimming 3 or more miles in open water will be timed and set off first, followed by the recreational swimmers who are expected to take around two hours to complete the course, with help from the outgoing tide.

Entry is £50 for each swimmer and £30 for the non-swimmers, which is refundable if, through sponsorship, those involved donate more than the fee to the Trust.

Jane Maxim, Chair of the Trust’s Funding Group said, “Supported by the RNLI, we had a trial run last year and it worked really well. Amazingly one paddle-boarder completed the distance in an hour”.

For those who prefer more land-based activity, there’s also the option to walk the distance on the far side of the river.

A large number of independent Suffolk based businesses, including O&C Butcher, The Wentworth Hotel and Slate Cheese, are sponsoring the event which allows for 100% of the funds raised from the flotilla to be used towards vital flood defences. Aldeburgh business spokesman for the Trust, Tim Rowan-Robinson said, “The support the flotilla has received from the enormous variety of independent businesses in the area has demonstrated they share our commitment to the Save Our Suffolk Estuary campaign and highlights the importance of strong ties between the community, businesses and our flood defence fundraising work”.

The funds raised by The Alde & Ore Estuary Trust support the upgrade of vital flood defences of the River Alde & Ore to protect the area’s economy, homes and landscape from floods such as those of 1953 which devastated the area and the 2013 storm surge which breached the Hazelwood Marsh, west of Aldeburgh.

Those wishing to enter the flotilla should go to the Events page of the Trust’s website aoetrust.org. The number of places in each class for elite swimmers, recreational swimmers and the fleet of non-swimmers is strictly limited and available to over 16 year olds.

A detailed, costed programme of works by the East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board shows £26.9 million is needed to upgrade the river defences throughout the Alde & Ore Estuary over the next 6 to 8 years, with £12m to be raised through voluntary donations from the local community, applications to charitable foundations and the support received from local businesses.

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