Royal seal of approval for boat races

Jubilee salute

Jubilee salute

First published in Witney

The Queen has sent her best wishes to the organisers of this weekend's Bangladeshi Boat Race at Farmoor.

Organisers have dedicated this year’s event to the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee and wrote to Buckingham Palace to invite the Royal Family to the event.

Unfortunately, the Royal diary was already full but the Queen has sent a letter wishing competitors good luck.

The Bangladeshi Boat Race, or Nowka Bais in Bengali, is a free event , which will take place at Farmoor Reservoir from 12.30pm on Sunday.

In her letter, the Queen said: “I was most interested to learn about the history of Nowka Bais and your continued support to your chosen charities.

“I much appreciate your kind words and, in return, send my best wishes to you all for a memorable and successful event.”

Nowka Bais UK’s founder, Oxford restaurateur Aziz Ur-Rahman, said: “We wrote to make them aware the Bangladeshi community has dedicated the boat race to the Diamond Jubilee. It is our way of showing our patriotism and celebrating the Jubilee.

“We are honoured to get a supportive message from Her Majesty.”

The event will see teams from across the UK competing to win £1,000 and a trophy.

Along with the colourfully decorated boats and crews in Bangladeshi costume, this year will also have a red, white and blue theme to celebrate the Jubilee.

It will feature live music, Bangladeshi food, henna artists, rickshaw rides, carnival games and stalls and Oxford United mascot Olly the Ox.

Last year’s races attracted a crowd of 2,000 people.

The event began in Oxfordshire in 2007, as part of celebrations of the county’s 1,000th birthday, when Mr Ur-Rahman brought two boats from Bangladesh.

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