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News - 2019


After the drought conditions in 2018 which stopped us sailing straight runners part way through the season, it’s no surprise that in 2019 the lake has again been the focus of our attentions. Some years ago when the city council in conjunction with the "Friends of Paddy’s Freemans" group tried to obtain a grant from the charitable arm of the SITA (now SUEZ) waste handling firm for the dredging of the lake, the repair of the bank-sides and drain repairs, an amount of match funding was required.

The local ward committee generously provided the sum of £10,000 for this purpose. Two applications for funding were made, each well prepared and supported but neither where successful. The Friends group felt that a third attempt was very unlikely to succeed and that it would be a better use of the £10,000 to the repair of the lake bank-sides which were beginning to slide into the lake. At least the money would be used for at least part of the purpose it had been given for. All involved parties agreed and the work was carried out by a sub-contractor, COLAS, overseen by the city council. This work has made a significant difference to the bank-sides and whilst the work is not particularly beautiful, it does at least keep everything safe until at some point in the future the investment is made in restoring the lake and its infrastructure to a suitable condition. The picture below shows the way the repairs were done, a row of cement bags extending almost right around the lake stitched together with metal staples.

2019 was memorable mainly because it was the year the city council did hand over control of the city parks and allotments to a newly formed charitable trust, initially called the "Parks and allotments trust", it later changed its’ name to "Urban Green Newcastle". Given that the city council had basically abandoned the parks doing only the bare minimum, cutting the grass and emptying the litter bins, the formation of a charitable trust staffed by a mixture of employees and volunteers who are all dedicated to the welfare of the parks and allotments, this can't be a bad step. The new trust has been given a large sum of money by the council to get it started but it has to be able to be financially self-sustaining within 10 years. The only real concern most people have is exactly how the money will be raised and from where. Its early days for the trust, which only took over control in April 2019, so we can only wait and see.

As in previous years the club has purchased (at our own expense) a commercial blue food dye designed to colour the lake water and to stop photosynthesis of the weed and hence retard its growth. This practice has been quite successful and has been copied at other lakes in the area such as Tynemouth and South Shields though there the councils pick up the bill. The colouring certainly looks good though we have to be very careful with the application as the dye is so strong that just 500 millilitres will dye the whole lake a strong blue. However this year we had a sudden surge of weed in the early part of the year probably caused in part by the low water levels. We had to rig a drag line and net to pull down the lake to remove the worst clumps of the weed and also added the blue dye. A week later and we were able to sail a competition which was good news.

None the less 2019 was a good year with a full programme of regatta's sailled and a high number of competitors at all the events. Our annual RNLI charity regatta weekend was much better this year as we had water in the lake and raised £160

Our Facebook page has been a huge success and recently has been gathering a lot more interest. To celebrate reaching 1000 "likes" we recreated a famous club picture of some of the members with their boats outside what was then the brand new boathouse in the 1920's. The black and white picture was colourised using computer graphics which adds something to it and it was a very popular post. So it seemed ideal to recreate it in 2019.

The 1920's original

The 2019 replica photo