University of Bristol will take on University of West of England in the rowing competition.

The Varsity Challenge Cup and Blade will be on the line this Saturday, 12 March, when the University of Bristol and University of the West of England line up for a 1300m rowing sprint.

The Annual Varsity Boat Race in Bristol harbour was the event that began an ongoing charity battle between the two Bristol universities in 1995, and draws hundreds of spectators to Bristol Harbour each year.

In the premier event, the University of Bristol’s Boat Club is looking to retain the Varsity Challenge Cup and Blade after its win last year, but the day will offer a variety of races. The Varsity series sees over 1,500 students and 90 teams go head-to-head in over 35 sports and activities in total.

Steph Harris, Bristol SU’s Sport and Student Development Officer, said: “The boat race is one of the flagship events in the Varsity series. It takes place in the heart of the city. It’s great to see the local community turn out in force to cheer the teams on, and there’s always an amazing atmosphere. I was Boat Club Captain for two years and had the privilege of racing in the event three times so it also has a special place in my heart.”

The event is free for spectators. Students taking part in the Varsity series compete in their chosen sport against their closest rivals whilst raising money for local charities. In the last five years the event has raised in excess of £50,000 for local charities and each university’s student union. This year’s charity is 1625 Independent people, which aids vulnerable young people in developing life skills.

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