ORGANISERS of this year's Melksham Food & River Festival are planning some new events on the River Avon.

They include a new junior paddleboard event for young people aged 10-15 on Sunday, September 1 at 12 noon. There will be cash prizes of up to £50 to win donated by Foxhangers Canal Holidays.

Cllr Adrienne Westbrook, who helps to organise the two-festival on August 31 and September 1, said they are hoping it will prove very popular.

She added: "If you do not have your own paddleboard you may be able to borrow one, but the organisers will need to know in advance of this requirement.

"Buoyancy aids and safety helmets are provided and there is no entrance fee for this event."

The new activity means there will be no junior raft race at this year's festival on the Saturday at 12 noon.

There will be a £100 prize for the senior race winner and a £50 prize for the best turned out raft and crew donated by Foxhangers Canal Holidays. There is an entrance fee of £5 per crew member.

The Mary Archard boat trips, organised by the Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch (MCC) of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, sell out very quickly, especially on warm days.

This year MCC are running four boat charters on Friday, August 30. The Mary Archard, which has wheelchair access, can carry up to eight passengers or six passengers if one of the passengers is in a wheelchair.

The charter trips run at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm and cost £30 per charter.

Malcolm Hitchinson, of Westbury, one of the event organisers, said: "There are no stalls on the festival site on Friday, but why not bring along your own picnic to enjoy on the boat or in the park. An ideal way of seeing the River with friends and family."

Full details of how to enter events can be found at or call Malcolm Hitchinson on 07595 833297.

You can also follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter.