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Saturday 16th September 2023
More details to follow in Spring 2023  
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"Glowing Spectacle at First Illuminated
Boat Parade"

"The riverside and a flotilla of boats lit up the Henley Reach of the Thames on Saturday evening for the first Henley Illuminated Boat Parade."

Henley Herald review  - click to read 

The Event

THE 2022

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The Inaugural Illuminated Parade at Henley, on Sept  24th 2022, was  a huge success. Nearly 50 boats took part, with very imaginative lighting, and up to 40 paddle boards.


The building and houses houses from  the Bridge to Fawley Court were brilliantly  and colourfully lit and up to 2000 spectators watched the parade from both sides of the river and on the bridge .

A  marvellous spectacle!

The organisers, Chris Taylor and Penny Palmano, were thrilled with the turnout and would like to thank all those taking part who made such a huge effort, and to thank those who came to watch.

It  will have to be repeated  next year. Many entrants  have  said  they  are  now planning their  2023 entries, upping their game!


The event was privately funded by the Organisers  in 2022.

Sponsor are  sought for 2023. Opportunities are:

  • The Trophies with sponsors name on

  • The adverting on Social  Media with  credits

  • Posters and town advertising with  credits

  • Projected adverts on some  buildings


Post Event Award

Organisers Special Award

Lady Bea - Led Oar display 

Best in Parade

Chris Langley’s Scarlet Lady - Theme ‘The Crown’ inspired by the the State funeral and the imperial State Crown that sat on the coffin. Music included various songs from marching bands, piles, choirs and Vera Lynn’s “We’ll meet Again”.


Runners-Up: The Henley Dragon Club’s ‘Dragonboat’, Captain Cat Cassell


Best Fancy Dress on Board

Carol Pontin’s Busy Lizzie, Theme Bumble Bees


Runner Up: Ross Elder’s Badger, Theme Three Bears


Best Music Boat

Karen Wade and The Henley Rowing Club, theme James Bond and the Royal Henley Rowing Corgis:

When their sound system broke, Karen, an ex Opera singer, sang Bond themes, but it was her Ave Maria which impressed the Music judge, Dhani Harrison.


Runner Up: Peter and Amanda Barron-Cutt’s boat Relaxing, Theme Abba


Best Unpowered Boat

Geoff Probert’s boat Molly, Theme Vikings


Runner Up: Nick Rudd’s Go with the Flow Paddleboarders


Best Lit Spectator

Ariana Shepherd.

2022 Judges

Our thanks to the Judges who volunteered their time and to our compere Mike Read.

Head Judge:  Andy Trotman

Bethan  Toop

Henley Mayor Michelle Thomas

Debbie McGee

Dhani Harrison


Any boat, any size, any age, powered or unpowered is welcome.

It's not about how much you spend, it's about the creativity of the idea, see The Gallery for thoughts. 



  • We will set up a Whats App group for registered entrants - entrants to give consent when they sign up for event.

  • Please ensure the organisers have your mobile number.


  • Craft must be safe for all aboard and others around them.

  • High power laser displays are not permitted.

  • We are on the flight path and would need permits for lasers.

  • Very low power lasers are OK but must be vertically facing only - Not into the crowd.

  • Some people are sensitive to fast flashing lights, no strobes please.

  • Craft must have no sharp edges or spikes.

  • Illuminations should be soundly constructed and properly attached the the craft.

  • Any devices should be waterproof in case of rain.

  • Parade will take place regardless of weather conditions unless there are red boards in place or the river is in flood.

  • No rockets, flares, naked flames or projecting fireworks.  

  • No untethered hot air balloons or lanterns (farms with cattle and crops surround the route).

  • No floating naked flames to be released from any craft.

  • Mooring after the Parade is downstream from Leander and will be marked,  but craft may have to raft up so adequate fendering will be required.

  • Please bring mooring spikes, there are no mooring rings.

  • We know that plastic and other materials may be used in the decorations. Please ensure that no plastic can fall in the river and anything that may go in the river is entirely water soluble and non toxic.

  • Fancy dress  is encouraged, judges  love  themes.

  • Remember to have uplighters  so the  judges can  see the costumes.

  • The more  creative the better.

  • Music  is important,  but remember  that it may be loud on your boat, but make sure  you  have  speakers  facing the crowds

guide to entrants

Taking Part


The first parade was in Cookham in 2015 and was so popular it became an annual event, only postponed due to Covid. It has now been moved to Henley. In 2019 up to 40 boats attended with large crowds watching from the Riverbank and even pop up bars! 



All the costs of the event in 2022 will be donated by the organisers. All the boat entry fees except the mooring fees will be donated to the charities below without deduction.

If you would like to contribute to the charities,  please click this link or donate on the night to the on-site collectors.

The Rivertime Trust

The Rivertime Boat Trust is a Multi Award–Winning Charity that offers disabled and disadvantaged adults, children and young people an opportunity to develop a long term involvement with the River Thames, by providing a safe, supportive and stimulating environment aboard the Charity's boat ‘Rivertime’.


The Leander Trust is a registered charity focusing on rowing and sculling. They aim to:  advance the education of young people by helping with their physical education by the provision of facilities - including grant awards; enable and encourage rowing and sculling; and help with the provision of facilities for recreation for those who need such facilities because of their youth, social or economic circumstances.

The Charities
Contact Us

Our thanks to the following:


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A Limited Liability UK Company
Company number: 13851576
Registered  Office. 54 Queen Steet, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AP

The Parade is organised by a privately owned UK limited company.
The Company’s only activity is to organise an ‘Illuminated Boat Parade’ at Henley on Thames.
All  costs of the first year will be covered by a donation from the shareholders
No fees or dividends are being paid to the directors or shareholders.
The event is organised specifically as a fund-raising event for charity.
All fees for entries collected via the website and on the night and any charitable donations at the event will be donated to the two chosen charities less the mooring fees that will be passed on to Hobbs Limited as collection agents for the mooring’s owners.
The directors reserve the right to seek sponsorship and recoup some costs in subsequent years if the event becomes an annual event.

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