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PICTURE SPECIAL: The Magna Carta River Relay flotilla passes through Windsor on journey to Runnymede

PICTURE SPECIAL: The Magna Carta River Relay flotilla passes through Windsor on journey to Runnymede

Emma Billingham

PICTURE SPECIAL: The Magna Carta River Relay flotilla passes through Windsor on journey to Runnymede

Months of preparations came to a head on the weekend as the Magna Carta flotilla relay passed along the River Thames from Hurley to Runnymede.

As part of the many celebrations taking place for the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the flotilla has perhaps been the most anticipated.

The iconic Gloriana row barge was at the head of the procession being rowed along the different stages by various rowing clubs and organisations.

On Saturday, it was the turn of the Maidenhead Rowing Club to man the oars and take the 10-tonne royal boat through from Bisham to Oakley Court, where it was moored overnight.

Laura Lion was one of those lucky enough to be part of the Glorianna's rowing team. She said: "It was just fantastic to be a part of it. I was part of the first crew so went from Bisham to Cookham and then another lot of members took it from Cookham to Maidenhead. I couldn't believe all the crowds they came out and we're just cheering us on.

“A real once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, Dee Quick, stepped onto the royal barge at Cookham as it continued to Maidenhead. She said: "It's a real honour to be here today to stand where Her Majesty the Queen stood on her Jubilee.

"Thank you all for coming out today to mark this special occasion."

Leaving bright and early on Sunday morning the Glorianna and flotilla completed its river journey to Runnymede, setting off from the Oakley Court Hotel, powered by a team from Windsor Boys School. 

Runnymede is the site where it is believed King John met with his Barons to seal the charter that formed how the country's democracy is today.

At many of the stops, a short play was performed for the crowds that gathered on the riverbanks, to re-enact what may have happened at the signing. Performances explaining the main points of the Magna Carta were also shown, with actors dressed in medieval costume.

TV presenter Timmy Mallett came along to the Cookham Moor stop. He said he came down because one of his ancestors was one of the barons who made the signing happen and felt he should be at the celebrations.

A series of LiberTeas were also enjoyed across the Royal Borough and South Bucks, with events being held at St Peters Church in Burnham, Bachelors Acre in Windsor, St Laurences Church in Slough and Windsor and Eton Sea Cadets base in Stovell Road.

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