Freddie to join raft race fun as regatta big weekend gets set

Crowds turn out to watch Andrew Flintoff play for St Annes Cricket Club against Penrith
Crowds turn out to watch Andrew Flintoff play for St Annes Cricket Club against Penrith

This year’s regatta raft race is set to have a familiar face in the line up.

Former England cricketer and Ashes winner Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is expected to be teaming up with award winning chippy, Quayside, to enter a team against some of the raft race regulars.

Whitby Regatta 2013 - Saturday''Raft race''w133302tt

Whitby Regatta 2013 - Saturday''Raft race''w133302tt

His visit to Whitby is part of a new tv series he is filming for Sky 1.

‘Flintoff: Lord of the Flies’ will see the cricketing legend touring the country with his mate, extreme cyclist Rob Penn, in an eco-friendly mobile fish and chip van powered by chip fat.

They will be attending local events to create six, hour long shows.

So, Freddie and the show’s producers thought where better to start than Whitby which has the country’s best fish and chips and one of its oldest events - the 174th regatta.

Freddie will be taking to the water on a raft while Rob tries his hand at the popular greasy pole event, both taking place on the Saturday afternoon.

Freddie said: “Fish and Chips have always been one of my biggest vices believe it or not so I’m glad that Sky1 have given me the chance to go on my very own Fish n’ Chip adventure.

“Rob and I had a once in a lifetime experience cycling through the Amazon so I’m hoping this chip shop van journey will be just as much fun but maybe a little less sore.”

The show’s producer, Catherine Mann from Plum Pictures said: “It is about Freddie going around the UK during the summer to meet local people with local events.

“I have always wanted to come to Whitby to show it off as a beautiful place and when you think about British summer it has always been on my list.

“The regatta is run by volunteers and local people and Freddie has been to Whitby as a child and it has a relevance to him.

“He is looking forward to getting on the road and is coming to Whitby to possibly learn about fishing and the industry.

“There are so many fish and chip places but Quayside is the best in the UK so it would be wrong not to visit.

“He is looking forward to the whole thing and it will be our first bit of filming.”

Ian Winspear, Regatta secretary, said: “They show contacted us a while ago but we had to keep it quiet.

“We are really looking forward to being part of the series and to showing Freddie what the Regatta and Whitby is all about.”

There has been an increase in popularity for this year’s raft race with more entries already than in previous years.

As well as the usual teams paddling it out there has been an influx of entires from Robin Hood’s Bay.

If you fancy joining the action, rafts can still be registered on the day.

Rafts should assemble on Tate Hill Beach from about 2.45pm and the lifeboat is expected to be on hand in case any need a tow.

The race will be on Saturday in the harbour from about 4pm.

The Greasy pole, which made a return last year after an absence of at least ten years, will follow the Lifeboat sail past at around 5.15pm.

Organisers say the best vantage points are around the bandstand, the fish quay in Pier Road or from the East Pier.