AN annual event by the waterside is set to return this weekend.

Heybridge Basin Regatta takes place this Saturday and Sunday for the 226th year.

Various activities, including smack racing, welly wanging and pillow fighting, are set to delight visitors to the traditional event.

Regatta chairman Keith Lawson said the committee is making the final arrangements.

Mr Lawson said: “The date for this year is fixed by the tide and only one serves us during June and July.

“It’s a reminder that for a waterside community it is nature who calls the shots in many things that effect our community.

“You will see the inshore lifeboat come up to the Basin from West Mearsea on Saturday.

“When Mother Nature flexes her muscles at sea it is these boys and girls that will answer the shout, so please give them a warm welcome.

“There have been a few changes in the Basin.

“The new lock gate appears to be working now, albeit you have to look hard to see it moving but it is a wonder of modern technology.

“Our lock-keeper stands before a control panel that would not look out of place on the Starship Enterprise.

“I think the old one had two paddle handles and a switch.

“Next to this wonder stands the turning post.

“When a ship entered the lock, a rope was passed round this to slow the vessel down.

“These two attempts by man to control the sea are centuries apart but we hope both will serve us well if needed in emergency.

“Apart from this, little has changed on the surface.

“However, behind the scenes the Basin moves slowly to becoming a parish council in its own right.

“This is recognition, if needed, that our community is unique and has its own identity.

“There are many Basiners who are no longer with us but with their larger than life character started to put the bricks of our new parish in place.

“I can see them raising a glass in Fiddlers Green with the words ‘About time Bor’.”

For more information about the regatta, visit online