Tyne for annual boat race

Competitors in last year's race.
Competitors in last year's race.
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It’s oar or nothing for competitors taking part in this year’s seventh Tyne boat race.

Nine teams are set to battle it out in one of the UK’s most unusual – and toughest – sporting events, the South Shields Marine School Annual Row.

It’s a tremendously difficult challenge.

Tommy Procter

They will race eight nautical miles down the Tyne from Newcastle’s Quayside to the finishing line at the Marine School’s Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre at Wapping Street, South Shields, on Saturday, June 25.

Launched in 2010, the challenge attracts competitors from across the country, each aiming to tame the river’s choppy waters and claim the winner’s prize – the Marine School Challenge Cup.

The challenge is the brainchild of Tommy Procter, 68, a former tugmaster and retired marine lecturer at the marine school, which is part of South Tyneside College.

He said: “The race has grown year-on-year and we are all very excited about this year’s biggest ever event.

“It is a tremendously difficult challenge, yet one that inspires all who take part to try their best – and it is also hugely enjoyable.

“Not only do they get a great sense of personal satisfaction, but they are also helping raise money for a good cause.

“I’m very grateful to all those who are taking part and wish them all the very best of luck.

“I must give a special thanks to all at TS Collingwood sea cadet unit in South Shields for their help with training and safety cover. They never let us down.

“And a thanks also go to all staff at the Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre for all their hard work.”

Teams taking part are South Shields Marine School, South Tyneside College Ladies Team, South Tyneside College General Engineering, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, City of Glasgow College, North East P & I Club, American Bureau of Shipping, Bernhard Schulte Shipping, with HMS Calliope making its debut.

South Tyneside College’s General Engineering, sponsored by Wood Group, won last year, with Bernhard Schulte Shipping second and South Shields Marine School third.

Spectators are being urged to cheer the teams off at 11am and welcome the fastest across the finishing line around 75 minutes later.

The race starts from Newcastle Quay, just yards from the iconic Millennium Bridge.

It will be followed by a barbecue and entertainment, and the presentation of winners’ medals and the cup.