THE country's 'only Venetian boat club' will host an international regatta in Oxford.

City Barge Boat Club row boats similar to gondolas in Venice, standing up and facing forward and will be joined by various competitors from September 25 - 29.

Though the club admits that 'much of its time is concentrated on serious picnics and Italian food', it has has forged international links through visiting the Italian city at least once a year.

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Representatives from various countries are expected at the club's base near Donnington Bridge, at Longbridges Boathouse.

Membership Secretary Katie Balfour explained: "Some of our members are Venetians living in Oxford, others are local and others are overseas members from Venice, France (and elsewhere). We row a shallop – the boat is a replica of that built for Queen Mary and it has accompanied the Queen on her famous birthday procession down the Thames."

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She continued: As a club we row regularly on the Isis and the Cherwell and go to Venice at least once a year for training as we are lucky enough to have links with two of the best clubs there. Many links and friendships have been forged hence the international regattas.

"We already have champion rowers lined up as competitors, plus some from Paris and possibly Germany. It promises to be a great event."

The club says new members are always welcome and entrants are still being received for the regatta.