COMBWICH is home to a thriving traditional thriving pilot gig club.

Having started just over a year ago, the club has gone from strength to strength and recently launched their newly acquired wooden pilot gig.

With help from EDF's Community Impact Mitigation fund, the group has purchased a £23,000 wooden pilot gig as well as a second fibreglass training gig worth £10,000.

The boats were needed to keep up with increasing number of people taking part in pilot gig rowing.

Club secretary Trevor Reason said: "The sport originates in Cornwall and The Scilly Isles, but has been growing in popularity in recent years and there are many clubs along the Bristol Channel and even one in London now."

The Combwich club now has 50 rowers, aged between 11 and 73, with approximately a 50/50 split of male and female members. Around half the members live within the parish, but the club has also attracted members from Taunton, Cheddar and Weston-Super-Mare.

Trevor says the club hopes to get more youngsters involved and has arranged for some Haygrove students to visit and give the sport a try in the near future.

The club takes part in competitive regattas and there are several age classes.

"It is a fantastic sport which has great physical benefits and can improve your social wellbeing," Mr Reason said.

"We will row on a Saturday or Sunday and enjoy breakfast after heading out on the water.

"We are very lucky here as the location is ideal for rowing.

"There is little wind interference - in the last year we've only had to call off sessions on three occasions.

"We also get a good number of people come along and watch while we are training which adds to the community feel."

The club's new wooden gig, which was specially made to meet the specific requirements for competitions, was launched for the first time on Saturday, May 18, having been blessed by the local vicar.

The club is a branch of the Combwich Boat Club.

Anyone interested in having a go at Pilot Gig rowing can email or call 07918 703422.