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Norfolk folk urged to enjoy water fun

PUBLISHED: 06:55 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:05 02 July 2010

Former Olympic rower, Stephen Turner, helps launch new water activity plans at Whitlingham lake.

Former Olympic rower, Stephen Turner, helps launch new water activity plans at Whitlingham lake.

Kate Scotter

A former Olympian took to the water with a group of youngsters to help launch a campaign to promote aquatic activities.

A former Olympian took to the water with a group of youngsters to help launch a campaign to promote aquatic activities.

The 'Enjoying Water' strategy for the East of England was launched at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre, near Norwich, yesterday.

The strategy, launched by the Environment Agency and partner agencies, outlines key ways the eastern region can increase opportunities for water-based activities and get more people involved in enjoying water and related sports.

Activities include everything from canoeing and rowing to walking and cycling by the water.

Rower Stephen Turner, who competed at the Seoul and Barcelona Games and now lives in Sheringham, was at the launch and joined in with youngsters canoeing on the water.

He said: “It's about encouraging people to try something different. We live in part of the country which is great for water-based activities and this strategy is about making them accessible for everyone.

“For me there is nothing better than being on the water. It creates a sense of freedom and fun, is totally accessible to all ages and capabilities, with people able to engage in competition or just for recreation.”

Enjoying Water describes strategic priorities aimed at maximising the economic, environmental and social benefits of water-related recreation.

It was developed through extensive consultation, exploring the demand for water-related recreation and the existing supply.

The eastern region is one of eight where are a recreational strategy has been drawn up in England and Wales.

Nigel Tomlinson, regional recreational officer for the Environment Agency, said: “It's about providing recreational opportunities across the board to everybody in the region no matter of age, gender or background.

“When we talk about water-related recreation, it's not just about canoeing, paddling and angling, but it's anything that uses water as a background from walking by the river with your dog to strolling with a pushchair by the lake - it's everything from the man on the street to the Olympian.”

The strategy took two years to develop and has been produced on behalf of key partners - the Environment Agency, Natural England, East of England Development Agency, East of England Regional Assembly, GO-East, Sport England and British Waterways - by the University of Brighton.

Are you part of an innovative project? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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