All aboard for lake fun day in Fairlop

Seafaring youngsters took to vessels of all shapes and sizes on the lake at Fairlop Outdoor Acitivity Centre, Forest Road, Hainault at the weekend.

More than 1,000 people turned up for the sun-soaked event that marked the official start of Redbridge’s summer nautical calendar, involving canoes, speedboats and sailing boats galore.

Warm April weather boosted the spirits of visitors, who included Redbridge mayor Cllr Jim O’Shea, who took to the water on board one of the centre’s speedboats on Saturday.

Senior Watersports Instructor Mike Phillips, who has worked at the lake for 11 years, was at the helm as Cllr O’Shea took a turn on the lake.

Mr Phillips said: “The whole day was a brilliant success. Seeing young people and their families enjoying the day was superb.


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“Many people there had never been in a boat before, and they can be nervous at first, but once they got the hang of it they were loving it.”

Landlubbers also got involved at the weekend by trying out orienteering, healthy walking and bouldering, on nine purpose built “boulders” that were opened by London mayor Boris Johnson last year.

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The centre is one of very few aquatic centres within Greater London and its history provides the perfect conditions for sailing.

Mr Phillips said: “It is a brilliant sailing venue because it used to be an airfield and is totally flat - which means there is a pretty consistent wind.”

One youngster who queued to give powerboating a go was Thomas Dudman, 6, who said: “It was really fast and made me laugh, I can’t wait for another go.” Pal Patrick Kelly, 10, said he had “The most amazing experience, flying across the waves.”

And after an exhausting weekend, no doubt many visitors would agree with the glorious words of Ratty from The Wind in the Willows when he said “There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Fairlop Outdoor Activity Centre has a packed range of events for all ages and abilities throughout the summer listed at their website, www.fairlop.org.uk, or for more information call 020 8500 1468.

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